Taloja jail inmate dies of COVID-19, kin allege negligence
A 22-year-old undertrial lodged in Navi Mumbai's Taloja jail has died of COVID-19 at a hospital, even as his family members alleged that the negligence of prison authorities led to his death. The prisoner, identified as Vishal Anand Dasari, died at St. George Hospital in Mumbai on Wednesday morning, a jail official said. Here are more details.
Dasari was in jail since 2018 under POCSO Act
Dasari was first admitted to Mumbai's JJ Hospital on April 30 before being shifted to St. George Hospital after testing COVID-19 positive. He was lodged in jail since 2018 in a case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).
Jail authorities have no concern for prisoners' health: Relative
Dasari's relative Aneesh Bharti said, "Of late, he had been complaining of throat pain and uneasiness whenever his family members called him in jail. However, the jail authorities neglected his condition and did not bother about him. They have no concern for health of prisoners." "We have lost our family member. He wanted to come home, but now he is no more," he added.
One more prisoner admitted to St. George Hospital, another quarantined
"Meanwhile, one more Taloja jail prisoner has tested COVID-19 positive and admitted to St. George Hospital, while another inmate, who is asymptomatic, has been quarantined inside the prison," the sources in the jail said. Taloja jail superintendent Kaustubh Kurlekar confirmed that Dasari died of COVID-19 and another prisoner has been hospitalized after testing positive.
Varavara Rao had also complained against health facilities at jail
Dr. Ranjit Mankeshawar, Dean of JJ Hospital, said, "The deceased (Dasari) was first admitted to JJ Hospital but was shifted to St. George Hospital after testing COVID-19 positive and he died due to the infection on Wednesday." Earlier, poet-activist Varavara Rao, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, had complained against the health facilities at Taloja jail, where he was lodged.
Jail has only three Ayurvedic practitioners: Rao
Rao had stated in an affidavit submitted to a court that Taloja prison hospital had only three Ayurvedic practitioners to address the health issues faced by the inmates and that there are no staff nurses, pharmacists, or medical specialists to attend to the prisoner.
HC asked prison authorities to submit details about medical staff
Rao was later admitted to JJ Hospital for COVID-19 treatment, according to the Indian Express. The Bombay High Court had earlier asked the state prison authorities to provide details of the availability of qualified medical staff and health workers in jail hospitals after it was informed about the deaths of prisoners and jail staff in the second wave of COVID-19.
Mumbai reported 3,056 fresh COVID-19 cases on Thursday
Mumbai on Thursday reported 3,056 fresh COVID-19 cases and 69 COVID-19 deaths, thus taking the total caseload to 6,68,335 COVID-19 cases with 13,616 fatalities. The city currently has 50,606 active COVID-19 cases.