Over 100 patients at a Covid Care Centre in Assam’s Kamrup district on Thursday took to the streets to protest against the poor facilities, PTI reported. They broke out of the centre and blocked National Highway 31.

The patients alleged that they were not provided with food and water. They added that the condition of the beds was also not up to the mark. However, the protesting patients returned to the centre after Kamrup Deputy Commissioner Kailash Kartik assured them that their allegations will be looked into and efforts will be made to address those.

State Health and Family Welfare Himanta Biswa Sarma said if the patients were not happy at the Covid care facility, they could opt for home quarantine. “We have brought them to the facility so that they can be cured and do not infect others,” said Sarma. “If they are not happy there, they can sign the undertaking and go under home quarantine.”

Sarma defended the state’s healthcare workers, saying they were overburdened. “In other states, even the testing is conducted on payment but in Assam, the entire expenditure – from testing to their stay and food – are borne by the state government,” he pointed out.

State compromising on health, safety of jail inmates, claims group

The Coordination Committee Against Citizenship Amendment Act on Thursday alleged that the Assam government was compromising on the health and safety of the inmates at Guwahati Central Jail, reported Assam Tribune. It demanded that a thorough probe be carried out into the present condition of jails across the state and the treatment provided to inmates.

Nearly 20 prisoners at Guwahati central jail have reportedly tested positive for Covid-19 as of July 11. These include activist Akhil Gogoi and Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti members Bitu Sonowal and Dhajya Konwar.

“If the treatment of a political prisoner like Akhil Gogoi can be delayed and his Covid status can be kept ambiguous for a long time, we can very well imagine the condition of the other general prisoners,” committee president Dr Hiren Gohain and convenor Deben Tamuly said in a joint statement.

Reports about Gogoi falling ill had initially emerged in local media in the first week of July. He showed symptoms of Covid-19, it was said. His wife, Geetashree Tamuly, wrote in a Facebook post that she had learnt about his illness from news reports but knew no details about his condition.

The committee also asked the state government to ensure basic human rights, right to food and right to health of the jail inmates. “The letter of jail inmate Dudul Das and the statement of student leader Manas Konwar, who has come out on bail, have exposed the condition inside the jail premises, including violation of Covid protocol, absence of basic medical treatment facilities, substandard food and high prevalence of fever, headache, cough and similar symptoms among inmates,” the committee added.

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Guwahati’s jail, public health authorities failed in basic duty to provide treatment to prisoners