Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb on Monday claimed that 162 Border Security Force personnel and their families, who tested positive for the coronavirus last month, violated quarantine protocols, NDTV reported. The Bharatiya Janata Party leader founded the claim on an investigation report submitted by a central team sent by the National Centre for Disease Control to the state.
Tripura is the second-worst affected state by the coronavirus in northeast India, with 321 cases reported so far. Of these, 163 are BSF officers and their families.
This happened after a cluster of cases emerged from a Border Security Force camp in North Tripura’s Ambassa area. The first case was reported on May 2 and escalated to 151 within a week. As many as 135 BSF officers and soldiers, along with a mess worker attached to the 138th and 86th battalions were infected. About 36 members of their families also tested positive. All of them have recovered but are in extended quarantine at the battalion’s headquarters
The three-member team from North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health & Medical Sciences, Shillong, had visited the affected areas, including the affected BSF battalions in Tripura. The team spent 11 days gathering data before submitting their findings to the state government on Sunday.
Deb, who is also president of the state unit of the BJP, claimed that the report confirmed the BSF personnel had flouted norms of physical distancing and disobeyed the protocol laid down for quarantine centres.
“We have sent the central team report to the Union Home Ministry,” the chief minister said. “According to the team, social distancing and quarantine norms were not followed in the battalion when many jawans returned after leave in February and March,” Deb said at a press conference at his official residence this morning, according to The Indian Express.
He added that the 138th battalion of the Border Security Force Commandant has been transferred owing to these lapses.
Earlier in May, Principal Secretary (Home) Barun Kumar Sahu wrote to Inspector General Solomon Minz of BSF Tripura frontiers to investigate the origin of the cases and enquire about the steps the security forces had taken to prevent the spread of the infection among people. A report on the matter was to be submitted to the government within seven days but is still pending.
Thereafter, Tripura requested the National Centre for Disease Control to dispatch a team to probe the reason behind the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile, the chief minister said there were very slim chances of the virus spreading in the community, according to NDTV. “ All cases detected after that [the BSF cluster of infections] are among the 14,000 who had returned after being stranded in other states and they have already been quarantined,” he said.