In just a week, 90 prisoners test positive for COVID at Anantnag jail, families allege carelessness

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Srinagar: At least 90 prisoners lodged at district Jail Anantnag in south Kashmir, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, adding to the worries of their families who hail from various districts of Kashmir.

Officials in the jails said that besides 90 inmates, a police personnel and a contractor supplying daily essentials to the jail, have tested positive following which the administration has called for isolation of affected prisoners.

The first case in the jail was witnessed last week on Friday and four more cases after three days; however, the highest spike of 44 cases were reported on Tuesday, the official said.

However, families of the prisoners have said that the administration is not providing medical attention to the prisoners.

Family members of one of the prisoners, from Srinagar, said that these prisoners are at high risk. Accusing the authorities of carelessness, families say that all of the inmates have been put together in a common space and no treatment is being meted out to them.

“In just a week, dozens of positive cases have come out, and it will be growing in the coming days till they get proper medical attention,” he said.

Another family said that despite multiple requests from all the families, no steps have been taken by the authorities until now. “The first and the foremost step that authorities should have followed was to put positive cases in isolation, however; neither are inmates being put on quarantine nor they get any medical care,” the family member of an inmate said.

Rejecting the statements made by the officials that proper care is being given to the inmates, a family member of yet another inmate said that all the inmates including his brother are living in a small space having a capacity of only 60 people. “Fitting 200 inmates in space feasible for 60 inmates is the main cause of spreading of the virus,” he said, adding that putting them in a common sharing space will worsen the situation

However, the jail official said that most of the affected inmates have been shifted to a makeshift barrack at the south campus of Kashmir University located in the high ground area of Anantnag.

Speaking to Free Press Kashmir Deputy Commissioner Anantnag K K Sidha said that “a medical team shall be made available and all the other measures have also been taken to prevent the outbreak from further spread”.


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