Denying the world-wide anti-Indian propaganda lobbies a chance to step up their campaign during the pandemic, the prison authorities in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir have this time around ensured to keep all the detainees free of the Covid-19 infection.
According to the official statistics updated at the end of April 2021, not one of the more than 4,500 inmates in the UT’s 13 major prisons is Covid positive. Director General of Prisons V.K. Singh has introduced a slew of measures over a bitter experience in 2020 to ensure that nobody lodged in any jail in J&K is afflicted by coronavirus.
Last year, scores of prisoners had turned Covid positive at the District Jail of Amphalla in Jammu, District Jail Anantnag and some other jails. However, the prison authorities had quickly taken necessary steps to shift all such jail inmates to the specially created quarantine facilities outside. In the wake of the Covid infections at some jails in Delhi and UP, coupled with a direction from the Supreme Court, a number of the Kashmiri prisoners were among the inmates released on parole.
According to the official data, there are 4,550 prisoners lodged in 13 major jails in Jammu and Kashmir. Of them, 884 are in Jammu’s Kot Bhalwal Jail, 612 in Srinagar Central Jail, 666 in District Jail Jammu at Amphalla, 345 in District Jail Kathua, 474 in District Jail Udhampur, 345 in District Jail Kathua, 474 in District Jail Udhampur, 171 in District Jail Bhaderwah, 251 in District Jail Rajouri, 300 in District Jail Baramulla, 261 in District Jail Kupwara and 285 in District Jail Anantnag.
In addition, 171 detainees are lodged at Special Jail (Correctional Home) Pulwama, 80 at District Jail Kishtwar and 50 more are at Sub Jail Reasi. There have been seven new arrivals at various jails of J&K in addition to the 206 lodged earlier this year. The official data indicates zero-congestion, claiming availability of space at several jails in the UT.
DG Prisons, VK Singh said that all new arrivals were being accepted only on the Covid negative certificate. He elaborated that the Covid-positive prisoners, if any detected during the customary scanning on arrival, were being straightaway diverted for quarantine and treatment to the Government Medical Colleges in Srinagar as well as in Jammu. They were accepted only when they turned Covid negative during the mandatory RT PCR testing.
“We keep the immune system of inmates in good form by allowing inmates to talk to next of kin (NoK), engage in cultural and sports activities and enjoy good quality sleep. Besides, every prisoner wears a face mask and uses sanitizers even as all jails are being regularly fumigated”. One of the prisoners in District Jail Kathua was recently diverted to GMC Kathua and accepted in the District Jail only after he tested negative during a Covid testing.
In view of the 84-hour long lockdown that began in the UT’s 11 districts on Friday evening, the authorities have deferred their plan of the rationalisation of the accommodation of the prisoners. A virtual rendezvous titled “A tribute by name to the gallant team of Covid warriors”, which was scheduled to be held on 1 May, has been deferred. Officials maintained that fresh invitations would be sent to the participants as and when a new date and venue would be fixed.
72,68,521 RAT and RT PCR tests have been conducted in Jammu and Kashmir since the outbreak of coronavirus in March 2020. According to the official statistics 1,76,083 persons have been detected as Covid-19 positive. As on 30 April 2021, 28,359 persons were active positive—17,699 in Kashmir and 10,660 in Jammu. In all, 2,283 persons have died—1,394 in Kashmir and 889 in Jammu.
The all-time high positive cases on a single day—3,532—were reported on 30 April, 2021. Of them, 2360 cases were reported in Kashmir and 1172 in Jammu.