At least 96 inmates at a jail in South Kashmir's Anantnag district have tested positive for the Coronavirus till Thursday.
Sources told Outlook that the District Legal Service Authority chairman has written to the Deputy Commissioner of Anantnag about the rising cases of Coronavirus in the prison. A jail staffer and a contractor have also been reported to have contracted the virus.
An official communication says the first case was reported in the prison on July 10, then four cases were reported on July 13 and which soared to 44 on Tuesday July 14.
The chairman of the legal service authority, according to the sources, has sought an appropriate requisite facility for the prisoners who have tested positive for Coronavirus according to the established Covid-19 protocol and standard operating procedure (SOP).
“To prevent any further spike in the spread of Covid-19 at the district jail Anantnag, deputy commissioner should take immediate measures to isolate the already affected inmates and put them in administrative quarantine and provide requisite facilities,” the chairman’s letter says.
At present, there are 249 prisoners in the already overcrowded district jail.
The first prisoner to test positive for the COVID-19 virus in the jail has been identified as Zahoor Ahmad Bhat of Trehgam, Kupwara. Bhat was detained under the PSA in 2018 and since then he is under preventive detention. Bhat is the brother of pro-independence Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front founder Muhammad Maqbool Bhat, who was hanged in Tihar jail in 1984.
There are 14 jails in J&K with 3,628 inmates against an overall capacity of 3,234 -- 12% more than their capacity.
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine