GUWAHATI, July 25 - The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought an action taken report (ATR) from the Guwahati Central Jail authorities on the steps taken to protect the jail inmates after the outbreak of COVID-19.
The apex human rights body, acting on a complaint filed by activist Monojit Singha, has written to the Superintendent of Guwahati Central Jail seeking an action taken report within four weeks, regarding allegations of an increasing number of jail inmates testing positive for COVID-19.
Singha, in his complaint filed on July 15, had alleged that the condition of prisoners in Guwahati Central Jail was very unsafe amid the pandemic situation and that more than 90 per cent of the prisoners were feared to be infected by the disease in the absence of a proper healthcare mechanism inside the jail.
The NHRC order has also mentioned that if it does not receive a report from the jail authorities in this regard within the stipulated time, the Commission would take coercive measures for personal appearance of the jail authorities before the NHRC under Section 13 of the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Singha said that the appalling condition of jail inmates in Guwahati as well as in other parts of the State was a cause of concern among the general people.
�Since the jail premises have a restricted entry and exit mechanism, it was apparent that proper precautions were not taken to avoid the spread of COVID-19 in Guwahati Central Jail. Further, a letter by a prisoner which was widely publicised by the media, also alleged that timely steps were not taken to ensure social distancing and other health safety measures within the jail premises,� Singha added.