NEW DELHI – Student activist Sharjeel Imam who is lodged in Guwahati jail has tested positive for coronavirus, media reports said.
Sharjeel was subjected to a test after a team of the Special Cell of Delhi Police arrived at the jail on July 17 to take him to Delhi. His departure to Delhi has been deferred till he recovers.
Sharjeel, a student of history at JawaharLal Nehru University, is under detention on charges of sedition for allegedly making provocative speech on January 25 calling for road blocks in Assam during anti-CAA protests. He is considered as the architect of the Shaheen Bagh sit-in which became a symbol of the anti-CAA protest movement.
Guwahati jail has emerged as a coronavirus hot spot. Official data suggests that 435 inmates including Assamese activist Akhil Gogoi have contracted coronavirus. There are around 10,000 prisoners lodged in the jail.
Human rights defenders have been appealing the government to release the inmates on parole to decongest jails as the virus spreads rapidly.
“As per the conversation between my brother Sharjeel Imam & his advocate, it has been informed to us that he has been tested positive for Covid-19. He further informed about the unmanageable condition of the Guwahati Central Jail where over 600 inmates (out of 1,100) have tested positive and very few are being given proper medical facilities. Hundreds of positive patients are being forced to live in inhumane condition inside the jail premises itself. Pray for his health and safety.” Sharjeel’s brother Muzammil Imam said in a statement.