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Srinagar: Thirty nine (39) more inmates lodged in district jail Anantnag in south Kashmir have tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday taking the total number of such cases in the jail to 44.

Till Sunday, five inmates including the younger brother of JKLF founder Muhammad Maqbool Bhat, were among those lodged in the jail who had tested positive for the virus.

 

The jail authorities had taken 192 samples after the first case was detected and today as more results came back, 39 more have tested positive for the virus.

DC Anantnag, K K Sidha, confirmed to The Kashmir Monitor that 44 detainees had tested positive in the jail so far.

Asked if the authorities will shift the infected detainees out, he said it was a “security related decision” details of which he cannot share.

As reported earlier in the day, the jail authorities have shifted the infected persons to individual cells rather than sending them to Covid hospitals or related centres.

The fresh cases have been detected days after one inmate Zahoor Ahmad Bhat, younger brother of Maqbool Bhat, tested positive for the virus.

Zahoor had developed related symptoms and was eventually shifted to district hospital Anantnag on July 10.

A family members of one of the inmates lodged in the jail said they were really worried about their safety.

“The jail is already overcrowded. We came to know that there are about 200 inmates in the jail with capacity of just 60. It is common-sense that if one of them is positive, the rest too will catch it (coronavirus),” the family member said.

He appealed to the authorities to release on bail at least those under-trial prisoners who are unwell.

Last week brother of an under-trial prisoner in the jail told this reporter that there were “hardly any precautionary measure taken by the authorities.”

He said that due to COVID-19, the court hearings in under-trial matters have also been delayed. “My brother’s last hearing was before the COVID-19 lockdown began. Our next hearing is scheduled on August 4, and that too may be postponed,” he said.

After his case, the authorities decided to test all the inmates as well as the staff in the jail.

The prison is located in Keribal area of Mattan, Anantnag.

As per sources, 192 tests have been conducted so far of which majority of the reports have arrived.

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A journalist by chance with over five years of experience in reporting, editing, and bucketing local, national and international content for my current organization. I have covered education, health, politics, and human rights. I like working for a daily, though I occasionally try my pen in long-form to connect personal narratives with history.

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