Guwahati Central Jail Credit: Twitter

Guwahati: Announcing that the Guwahati Central Jail is one of the worst-hit among the jails in state due to the COVID-19, Assam minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said that altogether 2,496 jail inmates have tested COVID-19 positive in Assam till August 24

Responding to a question posed by Hailakandi MLA Anwar Hussain Laskar on the floor of the state assembly, the state parliamentary affairs minister said that the spread of the virus is at its worst in Guwahati Central Jail with the maximum number of cases at 558, followed by Diphu District Jail which has 339 corona, positive inmates.

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Patowary cited in his written reply presented at the assembly that a majority of prisons in the state have reported COVID-19 positive cases with 227 infected in Nagaon Central Jail; 211 in Dibrugarh Central Jail; 196 in Tezpur Central Jail; 193 in Golaghat District Jail; 179 in North Lakhimpur District Jail; 154 in Tinsukia District Jail; 125 in Kokrajhar District Jail; 102 in Barpeta District Jail; 79 in Mangaldoi District Jail; 46 in Goalpara District Jail; 35 in Nagaon Special Jail; fifteen in Udalguri District Jail; twelve in Nalbari District Jail; ten in Dhubri District Jail; and seven in Jorhat Central Jail.

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However, when EastMojo approached Barnali Sharma, inspector general of prisons, Assam, she refused to speak on the spread of the virus and measures to curb it in state prisons but has mentioned having discussions with concerned ministers regarding the issue.

Earlier in July, Gauhati High Court had ordered the state government to offer the best treatment to prisoners affected by the coronavirus after taking suo-moto-cognizance to the number of cases rising inside the jails.

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One of the inmates of Guwahati Central Jail had previously, while being taken to the hospital, threw a piece of paper; an open letter complaining about the (lack of) measures and safety protocols inside the jail to limit the spread of the deadly virus.

The letter stated, “More than 95% of the people inside the jail have been affected by coronavirus; however, not all of them have been tested yet.”

The letter written by the inmate later identified as Dudul Das blaming jail authorities wrote, “Even after we tested positive, nothing has been done regarding treatment or diet for the past 40 hours. Both positive and negative patients are staying together. Two people are sleeping in a 2 ft space. More than 50 inmates have been made to sleep in a single room.”

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