Bringing up the recent death of two Tablighi Jamaat members, who were kept at Delhi’s quarantine centre in Sultanpuri, the Delhi Minorities Commission has written to Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal requesting a probe.
The letter which was sent on 24 April states, “Both of the dead belonged to Tamil Nadu and both were diabetic and died due to denial of diabetic medicines and erratic food supply.” While one died on 22 April the other died about ten days before.
Speaking to The Quint, Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC) Chairman Zafarul-Islam Khan claimed, “Through people I regularly speak with at Delhi’s Sultanpuri quarantine facility, there are two acute problems at this facility. Firstly, the people would not get food on time which is a big issue with diabetic patients and secondly, the medical care was not good. This is what led to their death.”
The Quint spoke to Ashok Kumar Rana who part of the 3-member Death Audit Committee formed by the AAP government. The committee’s job is to find out the cause of death and slot them into categories.
He said, “We have not officially been told about this letter yet. We would like to get the case details and have to make calls to find out about the cause of death. People with health complications are more vulnerable, which is known, but I can not comment on these cases till I get the case details from the concerned centre.”
The letter is written to highlight the ‘plight of inmates in Corona isolation camps where medical and food facilities are so bad that two diabetic inmates have died within ten days, the last being on 22 April’.
‘Uncooperative Nature of Officers and Doctors’
Khan and DMC member Kartar Singh Kochhar, who co-wrote the letter, attributed the deaths of two inmates due to the “callous and uncooperative nature of officers and doctors” manning and supervising these camps as well as the “erratic supply of food at these facilities”.
The letter reads that Tablighi Jamaat members have been kept at quarantine centres in Sultanpuri, Narela and Dwarka etc and include people from India and abroad, “They include elderly people with health issues who require special care and medical attention.”
The DMC also claimed that there are many people within the quarantine facility who have been there for about 25 days, which is more than the 14 days prescribed but are still not being allowed to go. “They have completed 25 days in quarantine, much past the required 14 days. Their vast majority has tested negative, but some of those who tested positive are also kept in the same facilities. Out of 21 positive cases of Jamaat people at Sultanpuri camp, only around 4-5 were reportedly taken to hospitals.”
‘Inmates Inhumanely Treated’
The Commission has alleged that those who are inside these facilities are being ‘inhumanely treated.’
Speaking about the odd eating hours, the letter stated that “breakfasts are served at 11 am and dinner at 10:00 or 11:00 pm. The food is hardly edible. As a result, people are having stomach problems and some are vomiting. Medical facilities and medicines are not provided while some of the inmates are diabetic and heart patients. Doctors rarely visit the patients. Inmates are not given necessary and life-saving medicines as a result of which two diabetic patients have already died in the quarantine camp at Sultanpuri. Mohamed Mustafa (60) died on 22 April while Haji Rizwan, died about ten days earlier. Both of the dead belonged to Tamil Nadu and both were diabetic and died due to denial of diabetic medicines and erratic food supply.”
The commission said it was unfortunate that this happened in government care and that ‘therefore government was responsible for their safekeeping and welfare during their detention’.
DMC Requests for Probe
The DMC in their letter have asked for an inquiry to be initiated.
They have written: The Commission has also requested LG and CM to order an enquiry to probe the deaths of the two inmates in Sultanpuri camp from Tamil Nadu and those found responsible for their deaths by negligence, denial of medicines and denial of timely supply of food, should be suitably punished.