Must jail those violating lockdown, Centre tells States
COVID-19, News

Must jail those violating lockdown, Centre tells States

April 3, 2020

No plans to extend countrywide lockdown, clarifies Cabinet Secretary

New Delhi: Those violating the Coronavirus lockdown or obstructing officials should be sent to jail for one or two years, the Centre yesterday told State governments, directing stern action under existing laws after reports of doctors or health staff being attacked.

Obstructing doctors, health workers or Government staff can land the offender in jail for a year. If such an act leads to someone dying, then the jail term could be for two years. Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba has written to State Governments to take tough action if there is any violation of rules.

Those making false claims for money can be jailed for two years. A false alarm or causing panic may land a person in jail for a year. The Centre’s directive followed disturbing visuals of health workers being attacked with stones and chased away in Indore in Madhya Pradesh. The doctors were visiting the area to screen residents after a Coronavirus case was reported from there.

In a video from Karnataka, a community or ASHA health worker was manhandled at a neighbourhood in Bengaluru where a person had tested COVID-19 positive. In Hyderabad, two doctors at a hospital were manhandled after the death of a COVID-19 patient on Wednesday. The attackers were the  brothers of the person who died and they were also diagnosed with coronavirus.

States have been told that the lockdown guidelines put out on Mar. 24 clearly mentioned that those violating the rules should face action under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and legal action under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, which involves imprisonment and fines.

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India is 10 days into the three-week lockdown ordered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to break the chain of transmission of the highly contagious Coronavirus, which spreads through person to person contact.

Meanwhile, the Centre said there was no plan to extend the lockdown beyond Apr. 14. Rajiv Gauba dismissed reports that the countrywide COVID-19 lockdown may get extended. “There are rumours and media reports, claiming that the Government will extend the lockdown when it expires. The Cabinet Secretary has denied these reports, and stated that they are baseless,” the Press Information Bureau said. “I am surprised to see such reports, there is no such plan of extending the lockdown,” said Gauba.


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