Two days after a Jamia Milia Islamia Ph.D scholar complained about the “unhygienic conditions” at the quarantine centre he was put up in, the Pulwama district authorities have filed a FIR against him for causing trouble at the facility.
On March 28, Owais Manzoor had posted pictures and videos on Facebook complaining that he fears he will contract coronavirus inside the quarantine centre. His family says they haven’t heard from him since March 31 when he sent a message from the phone of another quarantined person.
However, Block Development Officer Aabid Malik, who is the nodal officer of the quarantine centre, told The Indian Express that an FIR was filed by the police because “he reportedly hit a policeman who had objected to him taking video with his phone… there were 15 witnesses to this (scuffle)”.
In the post, Mansoor said he “reached home on March 20 from Delhi” and “informed the local health officials who advised that I stay home quarantined”. He claimed that after eight days of quarantine, the administration wanted to move him to the Solace International School quarantine facility.
“I reached the centre immediately. But after reaching the facility I found myself in more danger than before. There are six people in one room. The bedding has been used before. Four people in this room are from Tablighi Jamaat, who I have no idea about. Is it possible they have come in contact with the first covid-19 victim?” Manzoor asked in the post. He claimed sharing the centre with 40 others, with a single washroom and with six persons in one room “increases our vulnerability towards this infection”.
In the post, where the Pulwama Deputy Commissioner is also tagged, Manzoor claimed the nodal officer first agreed to keep him and his friend separate from others, but then “made a volte-face”. He also complained about lack of food and blankets to keep warm at night.
Malik alleged Manzoor gave everyone a hard time and “wasn’t cooperating with the doctors”. Acknowledging that there “are problems with the facility”, the officer said: “We don’t have hotels so we had to turn school building into a quarantine centre.’’ He said there were directions to put six people in one room, “but we offered him a separate room. He didn’t agree. He created lot of trouble…”
Malik said soon after Manzoor’s post became public, the DC and SSP Pulwama came to the centre and spoke to him. “He was making their video as well. They took his phone away. They took phones of both of them (his cousin),’’ he said. The officer said he along with the medical officer and the head of the police component wrote to the DC after he sought a report. “Everything that we have written is factually correct. I didn’t witness his scuffle with the policeman. I was told about it by the police.”
Corroborating Malik’s version, medical officer Dr Rafiq Ahmad said: “He was instigating others inside the quarantine centre and was creating hurdles for us.’’ Deputy Commissioner Pulwama Raghav Langer was not available for a comment.
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