Distribution of langar, distributors travelling to other cities despite the lockdown, selling of school books to parents amid curfew, and alleged illegal assembly of several persons to party has resulted in Punjab CM Amarinder Singh’s home district Patiala and its Rajpura township turning into a COVID-19 hotspots with 49 cases.
With 47 of these patients testing positive in last 7 days, Patiala and its Rajpura (30 cases) have become the government’s new COVID-19 headache. The administration Thursday announced even stricter entry and exit curbs for Rajpura to contain the spread. Till April 14, Patiala had reported only two cases.
The 47 new cases are all linked to the Amarnath Yatra Langar Committee, Patiala, with a langar distributor turning positive, followed by his associate, who is also a books trader in busy Patiala market. They were in touch with two more persons, both brothers, from Rajpura, who tested positive after their mother was found positive.
The Patiala Police has now registered cases against the langar distributor, his associate (the Patiala books trader) and the two brothers from Rajpura for violating the curfew and spreading the disease. Many other unidentified people have also been named in the FIR.
SSP Patiala Mandeep Singh Sidhu said, “These people were travelling to other cities under the garb of a curfew pass given to them for langar distribution. They are now in the isolation ward but it has been learnt that they went to Jawaharpur for business. They sold books to parents despite the lockdown by misusing the pass given to them for distribution of langar. Then they distributed langar to needy families. Also, we have learnt that some of them got together over dinner in Rajpura. Although they have told us that they were only four people, but this kind of assembly was not allowed.” One of the Rajpura brothers denied having organised any “party”.
The langar distributor, his wife and two children, and his associate have tested positive. Also, 12 contacts of books trader and eight contacts of Rajpura woman, including her two sons tested positive. But according to the district administration, all 70 parents who bought books are in the clear.
Party during lockdown
Meanwhile, the name of a politician’s son from Rajpura has also surfaced for allegedly organising a party during the lockdown. The SSP, however, denied having
any information about it. The Aam Aadmi Party has demanded a judicial probe into the spread of the virus in Rajpura with party leader Baljinder Kaur stating that involvement of politicians could not be ruled out in the sudden spurt in the cases.
Senior Deputy Mayor violates quarantine
Despite the district turning into a hotspot, a Congress leader and Senior Deputy Mayor of Patiala, Yoginder Singh Yogi was seen violating the quarantine orders on Thursday. Yogi sent his pictures and a release after distributing ration to needy families in Patiala. He was quarantined on April 16 and was ordered to stay home confined till April 29. He had tested negative, but as per the rules the person, having come in contact with a positive patient, has to remain quarantined even if he tests negative.
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