Sharjeel Imam, a Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) PhD student lodged in Guwahati Central Jail for an alleged inflammatory speech at an anti-CAA protest last year, was tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday. This comes two days ahead of Delhi Police Special Cell's plan to fly him down to the national capital.
More than 340 inmates of the Guwahati Central Jail were recently found to have contracted Covid-19.
"Swab test for the virus was done on Imam on July 19. The results for the same, which came on the next day, confirmed him being Covid-19 positive. At this moment he is been treated in the Covid Care inside the central jail," confirmed Dasarth Das, Inspector General of Prisons, Assam Police.
A special team of the Delhi Police landed in Guwahati to take custody of Imam and fly him back to the national capital on July 17.
Imam and the six member Delhi Special Police team were screened for the virus before they were supposed to leave Guwahati for the national capital. While the police team tested negative, the student leader was diagnosed infected.
Till the evening of July 17, around 338 inmates of the jail had tested Covid positive. On June 5, one of the inmates of the central jail, which houses over 1,000 under trials and convicts, had contracted the virus. The jail then was declared as containment zone.
On June 13, 29 more inmates were tested positive and then the number kept on increasing rapidly. Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had ordered for a complete swab test of all the inmates and staff of the Central Jail, both PCR and Antigen tests.
"According to Covid protocol, Sharjeel Imam has to stay in the Covid care centre. The student leader is doing fine," said the IG Prison.
Imam was arrested and brought to the state after his comments calling for Assam to be "cut off" from the rest of the country, which he had explained as a call for "chakka jam". He was initially an active volunteer at Delhi's Shaheen Bagh protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
The student leader was arrested by Delhi police in Bihar's Jehanabad, and was handed over to a team of Assam Police over the remark.
Imam was also taken to Arunachal Pradesh in connection with the same statement, after which he has been lodged in the Guwahati Central Jail. He has been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).