Srinagar: Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama region lodged an FIR against a Jamia Millia Islamia PhD scholar Thursday, days after he complained about the unhygienic conditions at a quarantine centre where he is currently being put up.
Officials said the FIR against Owais Manzoor was lodged because the student was allegedly involved in a scuffle with government officials posted at the quarantine centre in Pulwama. The reason behind the scuffle, according to the officials, was that Manzoor was not “resting” and instead taking photographs of the centre “unnecessarily”.
Manzoor’s Facebook posts on 28-29 March suggest the pictures clicked by him were to highlight the conditions inside the centre.
“I reached home on 20th March from Delhi where I am a Ph.D. student at Jamia Millia Islamia. I have no other travel history. On arrival, I informed the local health officials who advised that I stay home quarantined. It has been over 8 now. Today I received a call from the district administration who wanted to take me to a quarantine facility in Pulwama (Solace International School). I have fully cooperated with the admin to this point. But after reaching the facility I find myself in more danger than before. There are six people in one room. The bedding has been used before. Four people in this room are from Tableeghi jamaat who I have no idea about,” Manzoor wrote on 28 March.
The next day, Manzoor shared more pictures of the centre showing the facility in poor light with trash lying around everywhere, including the washroom.
“My concern is quite simple: We are around 40 people here, and we are forced to use a single washroom. Six persons in one room. Even a cabbage will understand that this increases our vulnerability towards this infection.There are not even blankets to sleep. Imagine yourself sleeping under a small blanket in this cold. We shiver with cold. In such a situation, we may very well die of hunger and cold than anything else,” Manzoor wrote.
‘Mobile phone snatched, no contact with him ever since’
After the post was widely shared on social media, Manzoor was visited by senior officials of the district administration, and was allegedly beaten up, a close friend of his told ThePrint. “His mobile phone was also snatched and we have not been in contact with him since,” said the friend, who did not wish to be named.
When contacted by ThePrint for a comment, police officers denied the allegations levelled against the administration. They, however, confirmed the FIR.
“We have received a complaint and subsequently an FIR was registered,” Pulwama Superintendent of Police Ashish Mishra said.
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