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Shifting prisoners could spread COVID- 19: Kamal Nath

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Bhopal, Apr 13: Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath has expressed concern over shifting of some NSA detainees from one district to another despite the lockdown, as some of them later tested positive for coronavirus.

Shifting prisoners could spread COVID- 19: Kamal Nath

Nath expressed apprehension, this could spread the viral disease in other districts.

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After a couple of such prisoners were shifted to a Rewa-based medical college, people and local politicians protested there and some pharmacies closed their establishments, saying the threat of the viral infection had increased in the district.

"It is surprising that while there is lockdown in the state, many districts are under curfew and their boundaries sealed in view of the coronavirus scare and people not being allowed to move from one district to other, in such a scenario those detained under NSA in Indore were sent to Satna and they were found coronavirus positive," Nath tweeted on Sunday.

"This way corona infection will spread in other districts also," he further said in a tweet in Hindi.

Some persons who indulged in stone-pelting and misbehaviour with health workers and police in Indore were recently booked under the National Security Act (NSA).

After some of accused under the NSA were shifted out of Indore, two of them tested positive for coronavirus in Satna and one was found infected with the disease in Jabalpur, causing panic in the two districts.

Satna Collector Ajay Katesaria on Sunday said two prisoners, arrested under NSA in Indore and shifted here, tested positive for coronavirus.

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Otherwise, there was no COVID-19 case in Satna district so far, the collector said.

The prisoners who tested positive for coronavirus have been shifted to the Rewa-based Medical College and those who came in contact with them have been quarantined, he said.

As a precautionary measure they were kept in the isolation cells, he added.

The Satna administration has requested the authorities concerned not to send prisoners there from Indore and Bhopal, which have been severely affected by coronavirus.

Jabalpur Collector Bharat Yadav said an NSA detainee out of four prisoners shifted from Indore to Jabalpur Central Jail tested positive for coronavirus before his admission to a local jail.

The prisoner has been shifted to a government-run hospital, he said.

The other three NSA detainees have been lodged at an isolation ward in the Jabalpur Central Jail, he said.

Meanwhile, some people in Rewa protested against the government's decision to shift NSA detainees who tested coronavirus positive to the Rewa Medical College.

As a mark of protest, some medicine shop owners announced indefinite closure of their establishments.

"There is an atmosphere of fear prevailing now. We used to open our medicine shops for people, but now the threat of virus has increased, so we will keep our outlets closed indefinitely," medical store owner Rahul Gupta said.

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Rewa-based Congress leader and former state minister Pushpraj Singh said people have religiously followed guidelines during the lockdown, but this decision has totally changed the situation.

"These coronavirus patients shifted from Indore to Satna should not have been brought to Rewa. People of Vindhya region will never pardon them. They should be shifted to Bhopal or Indore," he said.

State Congress' working president Kavita Pandey, who is also based in Rewa, criticised the authorities for shifting such prisoners.

"BJP leader and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has not done the right thing for people of Rewa. We will protest it strongly," she said and asked BJP MLAs and local MP to talk to Chouhan over the matter.

Till now, there was not a single COVID-19 case in Satna and Rewa districts except for these NSA detainees, an official said.

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