Srinagar (NVI): At least 100 prisoners have tested positive for novel coronavirus in district jail Anantnag in the past three days, setting alarm bells ringing for the jail authorities in Jammu and Kashmir.
A senior jail official said that earlier 47 prisoners, one jail staffer and one contractor supplying material to the jail tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday (July 14). “53 prisoners tested positive for the deadly virus on Thursday, taking the total number of prisoners who tested positive for the virus to 100,” the official said.
Earlier, Director General of Prisons, J&K, VK Singh had stated that elaborate measures that include testing and isolation facilities for the prisoners were put in place in all the prisons. He had stated that every new prisoner is lodged in a particular prison after going through proper Covid mapping at the concerned police station.
However, these cases have raised questions on measures initiated to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in prisons of the Union Territory.
According to details accessed by NVI, the occupancy in jails of J&K presently is 12 per cent more than their normal capacity. As many as 3,628 prisoners are housed in 14 jails of J&K against their overall capacity of 3,234. Besides, nearly 90 PSA detainees are also lodged in jails of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
Sources said that Anantnag jail authorities have written to the Deputy Commissioner Anantnag citing emergency in the jail. “The jail authorities have urged the DC Anantnag to keep the district administration available for meeting the emergency situation as if cases increase further, the number of beds available in the jail and other facilities would be inadequate to deal with the situation,” they said.
Sources in Anantnag jail said that shifting Covid-19 positive prisoners out of jail and admitting them in the hospitals is full of risk as they may find it easy to escape from the hospital.