Various prisons in Assam have practically become death chambers with the covid-19 raging on without proper precautions and measures taken by jail authorities. While 120 inmates of Guwahati Central Jail have been found covid-19 positive out of a total of 200 who are tested till now, there have been allegations of major violations of all Covid-19 guidelines inside the prisons. Student leader Manas Konwar who came out of Guwahati Jail on bail on 14 July 2020, alleged that infected inmates are kept together with other inmates, in small cells overflowing with prisoners. Cells meant for 20-30 inmates are used to keep 50-60 people together. While almost 80 to 90 per cent of the prison population have shown symptoms Covid-19, only 200 out of over 1000 inmates have been tested. A letter written by Dudul Das, an inmate of Guwahati Central Jail, alleged that those found positive have not been offered treatment even after forty hours. Four advocates have filed petitions regarding this to three different courts in the city.
Meanwhile, the condition in various other prisons in the state are deplorable too. In Golaghat District Jail, on Wedneday, 15th July, 30 cases of Covid-19 were found. It has been alleged that proper precautions were not taken while bringing in and keeping inmates to the jail during the pandemic situation leading to spread of the disease.
Letter to AHRC
To Kolkata: Wednesday, July 15, 2020.
We, Association for Protection of Human Rights (APDR), the oldest existing HR Org. in India, do humbly send a report (attached below) for appropriate action from your end for the Covid affected and other worried inmates of the reported jail. Moreover, we’ve reports that some political rights activists including Akhil Gogoi, Amitava Bagchi are also languishing there with serious illness. Assam Government may have its political motivations not to release them, but, we think, the Commission has a different role to play in public humanitarian interest. It is to be taken into account that due to closure of court proceedings for Corona pandemic the rights activists there in Assam could do very little . Please do the needful and oblige. Thanks.