GUWAHATI, July 21 - Taking cognizance of a complaint by Leader of Opposition in State Legislative Assembly Debabrata Saikia over the issue of violation of the COVID-19 protocol and an absence of necessary healthcare facilities in Guwahati Central Jail, the Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has asked State Chief Secretary and IG (Prisons) to submit a report on the matter by August 5, 2020.
The AHRC drew attention of the authorities towards Debabrata Saikia�s complaint that states that the condition in Guwahati Central Jail was very alarming as no proper COVID-19 tests, treatment, etc., was being done for the jail inmates.
The panel, comprising its chairperson Justice T Vaiphei and members Naba Kamal Bora and Deva Kumar Saikia asked both the Chief Secretary and the IG (Prisons) to explain in their report as to what actions have been taken by them over the complaint made by the Leader of Opposition on July 9.
In his complaint to the AHRC, Saikia had mentioned that he had written to the Chief Secretary of Assam, the Commissioner, Home and Political Department and the IG (Prisons) on July 9, demanding an inquiry into the matter, proper treatment of the prisoners and release of under trial prisoners, including political prisoners. Saikia alleged that no action was taken by the authorities over this matter, even as the condition deteriorated within the jail premises.
Saikia, in his letter to the AHRC, has also asked the Commission to direct the State government to constitute a committee to ascertain whether COVID-19 related facilities are being provided in various major government hospitals of Assam.
The proposed committee can also ascertain whether the COVID-19 protocol was followed in Guwahati Central Jail, whether the swab tests were carried out on all inmates of the jail prior to the demand made by the inmates in the last week of June, whether proper medical facilities were provided to the inmates and any other relevant question raised by various sections of conscious citizens.
Saikia�s complaint also referred to the media reports about an inmate of Guwahati Central Jail who alleged that around 95 per cent of the jail inmates were likely to be affected by COVID-19 and that 50 inmates were kept in one room and the gaps between sleeping spaces also violated social distancing norms. The inmates had also complained that proper diet and treatment were not being provided to the prisoners.