The COVID-19 vaccination of “eligible” jail inmates in J&K is in progress and will be intensified once adequate stocks of vaccines are available, DG Prisons, VK Singh said.
He said the vaccination was started on April 6 from the ‘holding centre’ Hiranagar housing over “200 illegal immigrants from Myanmar”, where he said, “58 eligible internees were inoculated”.
Srinagar central jail saw 38 inmates being vaccinated against the dreaded infection on April 16 and another group of 16 inmates received a jab in district jail Rajouri on April 19.
The DG Prisions said there was no positive case among over 4,500 inmates in 13 jails across the Union Territory, which he said is a “big achievement” amid the lethal second wave which forced the department to suspend physical meeting of the inmates with their relatives for their safety.
Against a total capacity of 3,426, there are 4,550 inmates lodged in 13 jails across Jammu and Kashmir, officials said. “The inmates include over 1,000 suspected militants and 69 foreign nationals,” they said.
A total of 201 Rohingyas including 74 women and 35 children are presently lodged in the ‘holding centre’ after they were found living illegally in Jammu city during a special verification drive in March, they said.
Singh said that in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases, meetings of jail inmates with their families have once again been suspended from April 27. “To enable contact of inmates with their family members, telephone facility has been made available in all the 13 jails of the Union Territory,” the DGP Prisons said adding that all new arrivals are accepted only with COVID negative certificates.
The senior police officer said that if anyone is found positive, he or she is taken on the prison rolls but sent to Government Medical College (GMC) with guard till their report returns negative. “Even negative cases on arrival are put in mandatory quarantine inside the jails,” he added.