Kashmir Indepth

All inmates, staff members at Anantnag jail to be tested after a prisoner found positive: Families worried over their safety

Raouf Dar

SRINAGAR, July 11(KINS): Authorities have decided that all jail inmates and staff members at Anantnag district jail to be tested after a prisoner found positive for COVID-19.

An inmate booked under PSA in Anantnag prison has been tested positive. He happens to be brother of JKLF founder Mohammad Maqbool Bhat.

Principal GMC Anantnag, Dr. Showkat Jeelani said one of the jail mates of Anantnag jail has been admitted to the hospital. “He has been kept in an isolation ward,” Dr Jeelani told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS).

“Doctors have started taking samples of jail inmates at Anantnag jail for COVID testing. It will take two days to collect all the samples,” he added.

DIG Prisons, Mohammad Sultan Lone, said the screening will be held as a measure of precaution.

“One inmate has been tested positive. Few days back he had complained of a fever and was then taken to hospital. Yesterday his report came which is positive,” the DIG Prisons told KINS.

He said all the jail inmates and staff members will be tested. “This prisoner was in a separate room. Still doctors have started collecting samples of others as a precautionary measure. The jail is also being sanitized,” he said.

Asked how long the prisoner has been there, he replied, “I don’t have information. But he has been in various jails before shifted to Anantnag. He is from Handwara.”

Bhat’s brother was shifted to Anantnag jail in March this year from sub-jail Kupwara.

Family members of prisoners are worried over their safety. “Jails are overcrowded here. We have been asking the government to release them on humanitarian ground till the COVID threat is over. If one inmate has been tested positive then others might also have been infected,” a relative of one of the prisoners lodged in Anantnag jail, said.

Human rights activists have also urged the government to release prisoners on humanitarian grounds. They said the epidemic could put the prisoners’ lives at stake.(KINS)

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