People Hiding Travel History Can Be Jailed For Upto 2 Years

Government said that over 400 have concealed their travel history after returning to Valley

Izhar Ali

Srinagar: Four people, including three Kashmiri students booked by police for concealing their travel history can be imprisoned for upto two years under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) after their quarantine period is over.

The trio hailing from Ganderbal, Pulwama and Baramulla districts arrived in Valley after evading screening at Qazigund and dodging officials at the Srinagar International Airport, reports said.

While a female student at a Medical College in Pakistan crossed Wagah Border to reach her home in Charsoo village, another Kashmiri student at Bangladesh University took a flight to Srinagar on March 16. A student from central Kashmir’s Ganderbal also took a flight to reach Srinagar Airport, where he concealed his travel history. All the three have been booked under Indian Penal Code Sections 188, 269, 270 and 271 and sent for quarantine.

In the frontier Uri, a pharmacist returned from Saudi Arabia and conveniently evaded necessary quarantine process by hiding his travel history. A resident of Boniyar, the pharmacist at a Primary Health Centre (PHC) was booked under section 188, 271 IPC and sent to quarantine by the district administration.

Sec 188 of IPC, violation of order promulgated by the government is a cognizable but bail-able offence. Sec 269 (Negligently doing any act known to be likely to spread infection of any disease dangerous to life) and 271 (Knowingly disobeying any quarantine rule) can invite imprisonment for six months or fine, or both. However, a person can be booked for up to two years with fine, under Sec 270 for malignantly doing any act known to be likely to spread infection of any disease dangerous to life

In a sensational disclosure on Wednesday, government said that over 400 have concealed their travel history after returning to Valley from parts of country and abroad. 200 among them were identified and tracked by the administration with the help of Srinagar’s Covid-19 control room, where complaints have been registered by the conscious citizens after Valley recorded first positive case of coronavirus.

150 suspects who had travelled abroad were put under quarantine at the government facilities while fifty others with national history were home quarantined. The remaining 200, against whom complaints have been received, continue to remain untraced.

A man from Lal Bazar returned last week from Italy, one of the worst affected coronavirus countries in the world. The man travelled from New Delhi to Srinagar by road and successfully managed to skip the mandatory quarantine procedure. It was only after a neighbor noticed his return and immediately reported the case to the civil administration.

“And hours later, a team visited his house and took him to a quarantine facility. We are morally, socially and religiously bound to create a safe environment. We can’t ignore these potential human bombs in our society,” said the complainant, who wished not to be named.

While the administration and the locals are making joint effort to break the deadly chain of Covid-19 in Srinagar, in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district allegations galore over the ‘callous attitude’ of the officials.

“Fourteen students returned to their villages in Katoo, Hatiham and Dirhama after concealing their travel history. SK Colony in the heart of the town has eight foreign returned students, who evaded mandatory quarantine,” said Ahmad, who refused to divulge his full near due to the fear of reprisal.

“Three medical students of Dirhama, who returned from Bangladesh last week, were allowed by Tehsildar to stay at their homes on the assurance of Panchayat head. This happened despite stiff opposition by the villagers,” he added.

When contacted, IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar told Kashmir Observer that he cannot comment on the matter this time.

Government spokesperson Rohit Kansal however said that action will be definitely taken against the people who concealed their travel history on their return to Kashmir.

“Legal action will be taken against them. It is a legal process and it will be followed,” he told Kashmir Observer.

Kansal said that J&K was one among the states where administration was doing ‘aggressive contract tracing’.

“Our teams go door to door tracing the people who have returned. We have been doing it for last three weeks. This is a joint effort of people and administration,” he added.

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