The UP Police in 20 districts has lodged 44 FIRs against over 500 people, including 325 foreign nationals, for allegedly spreading the novel coronavirus and not informing the authorities about their travel history to Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi or their indirect links with the group.
The districts included Bahraich, Ghaziabad, Agra, Lucknow, Kanpur, Meerut and Saharanpur, said sources at DGP headquarters.
After reportedly tracing them to mosques or other places and lodging FIRs, police sent these people to institutional quarantine and also got samples collected of those who showed symptoms of coronavirus.
Police have started taking custody of the accused who have completed 14 days in quarantine and whose sample results have returned negative.
To follow the protocol of 28 days of quarantine, the state government is setting up temporary jails for the accused sent to judicial remand by local courts. After 28 days, they will be shifted to regular jails of the district concerned.
The government has ordered district magistrates to set up temporary jails at unused government buildings and coordinate with the respective jails for security arrangements.
“We have received a directive from the government that the accused being sent to judicial remand by the court should be kept in a temporary jail for a certain period before being shifted to the district jail,” said a senior official of the prison department.
The 500-odd people have been booked under IPC sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and others. Police also invoked Epidemic Disease Act. Apart from these charges, foreign nationals have also been booked under the Foreigner’s Act and Passport Act. Foreign nationals are mainly from Thailand, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
Local residents have been booked for not informing district administrations about stay of foreign nationals at their residence.
On March 11, Bahraich police had arrested 21 people, including 17 foreign nationals, after they completed their 14 days in quarantine. The four Indians were later released on bail while a local court of Bahraich sent 17 foreigners to judicial custody. Ten of them are from Indonesia, the rest from Thailand.
In the district jail, they are kept in a separate barrack for another 14 days. They were also being closely monitored inside the jail, informed a police officer.
All 17 foreign nationals were carrying valid documents and had come to India on tourist visas. Police said they had attended the congregation of Tablighi Jamaat in Delhi.
Meanwhile, eight cases have been lodged for alleged attacks on police and heath workers across the state since the lockdown came into effect on March 24.
The latest incident occurred in Moradabad where locals attacked medical and police team when they had gone to quarantine the family members of a patient who died of COVID-19. Seventeen people, including seven women, have been arrested.
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