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COVID19 scare sets off clash in a Kolkata jail after prisoners seek instant release

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Kolkata, March 21: Amid the Coronavirus outbreak scare worldwide clash broke out between the jail inmates and jail staff of Dumdum Central Jail in north Kolkata.

Reportedly, the police had to fire tear gas shells inside the jail to quell the clash between groups of inmates and jail staff.

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According to reports, the prisoners reportedly asked the authorities to release them as news of rising cases of coronavirus reached them.

Several people have been injured in the clash at Dumdum Central Jail, the injured were taken to a hospital.

The local police are trying to control the situation, with several policemen taking rounds of the jail premises.

They were attacked by the prisoners when they first entered from the gates.

It is said that the prisoners have been seeking immediate bail so that they could go home instead of being locked up with others, who could be infected with coronavirus, in a closed environment.

On Friday, the jail authorities stopped the practice of inmates being allowed to meet their families to minimise risk of contracting coronavirus.

The family meeting window is shut till March 31, which sources said could have angered the prisoners.

A decision by the jail authorities to offer 15-day parole to prisoners who have spent more than 10 years in jail and have a clean record also reportedly angered some of the inmates.

They then went on to set fire to portions of the jail.

Three fire engines rushed to the spot to douse the flames.

State Minister of Correctional Administration Ujjwal Biswas and senior departmental officers are at the jail trying to reason with the inmates to control the situation, news agency Press Trust of India reported.

The West Bengal Bar Council has also decided not to participate in judicial proceedings in any court in the state till March 31.

The total cases of confirmed pandemic disease in India rose to 283 on Saturday, including four fatalities.

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