The state government informed the Bombay High Court on Monday that three prisoners who died — one each in Yerawada, Taloja and Dhule prisons — were found positive for Covid-19 after death.
State Inspector General of Prisons Sunil Ramanand, in an affidavit, stated that three more inmates have been found positive in Dhule district prison and are under treatment.
Earlier this month, 158 prisoners and 26 staff members tested positive for coronavirus in Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail.
The state’s submission came after the HC, on May 19 directed the state to file a comprehensive response to the pleas raising concerns over several inmates and jail staff testing positive and seeking relief for prisoners across jails.
According to the state’s reply, while the total capacity of Maharashtra prisons is 24,000, current population in prisons as on May 10 was 34,000.
The state government also informed the court that primary temperature checks are being carried out and sanitisers and masks have been provided to prisoners, adding that there is sufficient stock of medicine with prison hospitals. It also stated that out of 175 sanctioned posts for medical staff in prisons, 63 positions are vacant.
The pleas had sought from the state to ensure the inmates have free access to protective gear, hand sanitisers and soaps. An NGO, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), and others had moved the HC seeking the relief.
The NGO had claimed that families of prisoners were in a state of panic after reports of inmates from Arthur Road Jail and Satara prison being infected came out, adding that they had no way to know the health status of their relatives.
The court will hear the petitions further today.
Prisoners tested positive so far
Arthur Road Jail– 158
Byculla district prison – 1
Satara – 10
Dhule- 4 (1 dead)
Taloja- 1 (dead)
Yerawada – 1 (dead)
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