New Delhi: JNU student Sharjeel Imam, who is currently logged at the Guwahati Central Jail, has tested positive for Covid-19.
“Imam has tested positive for Covid-19, his reports came in yesterday (Monday) evening. He had tested negative in his first test reports, but in those conducted after swab collection, he has tested positive. Right now, Iman is admitted in the Guwahati Central Jail’s Covid care centre,” Dasarath Das, Inspector General (IG) of Prisons, Assam, told ThePrint.
Imam, 31, who is accused of making inflammatory speeches during anti-CAA protests was booked under the UAPA (Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Das also said that 435 inmates have tested positive so far, of which 174 have recovered. Three jail staff have also been hospitalised for Covid-19 infection. The wards, he added, are regularly sanitised in order to prevent the virus from spreading.
“Hundred per cent testing of the inmates is being done…Test samples of 1,222 inmates were taken, after which some of them have been shifted to Covid care centres and hospitals. As of now 980 are lodged in the jail,” Das added.
The jail has 42 separate wards and 10-15 inmates are kept in each.
“A 200-bed Covid care centre will soon be completely operational in the central jail. As of now, the Covid care centre is only partially functional,” a senior police personnel of Guwahati Central Jail, who didn’t wish to be named, told ThePrint.
Delhi Police delays Imam’s transfer to capital
Imam was arrested on 28 January from Bihar’s Jehanabad district in a case related to violence, for making inflammatory speeches near Jamia Millia Islamia and the Aligarh Muslim University in December last year.
Sedition cases were subsequently filed against the student activist for his controversial statement on cutting Assam off from the rest of the country.
Imam was to be brought to Delhi for investigations into the funding of riots. A team of Delhi Police’s Special Cell had reached Guwahati on 17 July to take custody of Imam and bring him back to the capital city. The team has now decided to delay the transfer.
On 11 July, peasant leader and activist Akhil Gogoi, who was also lodged at the Guwahati Central Jail, had tested positive for Covid-19. On 9 July, two other members of Gogoi’s Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, Bittu Sonowal and Dhairjya Konwar, had tested positive for the virus.