Hyderabad: Not following home quarantine rules or trying to escape quarantine could lead to spending at least six months in prison, said the Telangana Police.
In a bid to better enforce social distancing amid the coronavirus scare in the state, any citizen found violating lockdown rules laid down by the government in Telangana would be booked.
“Every person who is required to observe home quarantine shall strictly observe the same, failing which they would be liable for penal action and shifted to government quarantine,” said a government order released on late on Sunday.
According to Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, about 20,000 people have come to Telangana, in March alone, from foreign countries. The government is attempting to get in touch with all of them and track their movements.
Two individuals, who were supposed to be on home quarantine, escaped and boarded a train to Delhi last week.
Noticing the stamp on their hands, locals in the train altered the authorities. The due were made to deboard the train at Kazipet railway station and were immediately shifted to the state-run Gandhi Hospital.
To avoid recurrence of such incidents, the state police has said cases would be filed under Section 269/271 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) (negligently doing any act known to likely spread infection or disease dangerous to life and disobedience to quarantine rule). This could mean a punishment extending up to six months in prison or a fine or both in a few cases.
Section 270 of the IPC (whoever malignantly does any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life) would also be invoked and this could lead to imprisonment extending up to two years and fine. Sections 188 of the IPC will also be invoked for people defying quarantine.
The authorities have also started stamping the date of arrival on the wrists of passengers returning from abroad to ensure better movement tracking of those individuals.
On Sunday, the chief minister said the state would be under lockdown till the end of the month, adding not more than ‘one person’ from each household will be allowed to step out to buy groceries or other essential goods.
Police officers said people venturing on roads in their private vehicles will also be booked.
Not more than one person on a two-wheeler and two persons in a four-wheeler would be allowed, that too in a case of an emergency. Any congregation of five people or above is strictly prohibited.
“Roaming on roads despite a lockdown will attract penal action. If a vehicle is spotted multiple times on the road by police, that particular vehicle will be seized,” Director General of Police Mahender Reddy said on Monday.
Public and private transport will remain off the roads along with all inter-state borders remaining shut with restricted vehicular movement.
All commercial establishments, non-essential services will be completely shut and stores/shop with essential services will be available only till 7pm every day.
Police are also booking cases under Section 54 of the National Disaster Management Act against people found spreading false information related to the coronavirus.
In an order issued on Sunday, the government said any person found violating rules will be dealt under the provisions of The Epidemics Diseases Act 1897, and the Disaster Management Act, 2005.