Panic grips IOK jail after Maqbool butt’s brother tests COVID-19 positive

Srinagar, July 11 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, the illegally detained Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leader, Zahoor Ahmed Butt, has been tested positive for COVID-19 in a jail in Islamabad district of the territory.

Zahoor Ahmrd Butt, a younger brother of prominent martyred Kashmiri liberation leader Muhammad Maqbool Butt, was arrested in 2018 in fake cases registered against him. He was later booked under black law Public Safety Act (PSA) and lodged in Mattan jail of the district. He has now been shifted to the district hospital Islamabad.

At least 10 prisoners have developed symptoms of the infection, reports said.

Zahoor Butt’s COVID-19 sample had been taken when he complained of fever and chills in the jail earlier this week.

Officials in the hospital said that Zahoor Butt was administered medicines and injections, and his sample was also taken before he was taken back to the jail. The sample eventually came out to be COVID-19 positive on Friday. He was eventually shifted back to the hospital, the reports added.

His family came to know about it Saturday morning.

In March this year, Zahoor Butt was slapped with draconian PSA for the third time in a row and was shifted from Indian jail of Rajasthan to sub-jail Kupwara in February and eventually moved to Mattan district jail in March this year during COVID-19.

In-charge Superintendent, Mattan Islamabad Jail, Sheroz Ahmed, confirmed that Zahoor Butt has been tested positive and shifted from the prison.

A family member of a detainee told media men that there was hardly any precautionary measure taken by the authorities.

“The jail has become a hotspot of the virus. It has a capacity of 60 inmates but around 200 persons have been lodged in it,” said brother of an under-trial prisoner in the jail. He said that due to COVID-19, the court hearings in under-trial matters had been delayed.

“My brother’s last hearing was before the COVID-19 lockdown began. Our next hearing is slated on August 4, and that too may be postponed,” he said.

The family members of the detainees including Zahoor Ahmed Butt have appealed to the authorities to release on bail the prisoners who are unwell.

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