Death of Jamaat attendee sparks protest at Sultanpuri quarantine facility
A 50-year-old man, who had participated in the Tablighi Jamaat at the Nizamuddin Markaz last month and was housed at a quarantine facility in northwest Delhi’s Sultanpuri, died on Wednesday morning. The death triggered protests by the occupants of the facility.
The occupants staged a sit-in inside the compound, alleging that the man, a diabetic patient, died as he did not receive medical attention and food on time. A number of videos of the protests were circulated on social media and messaging platforms as well.
A relative of the person who died, also an occupant of the facility, said the man, an engineer from Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore, had tested negative for Covid-19 but was not sent home despite completing his quarantine.
“He was diabetic and needed to take his medicines after proper meals, which has been an issue at the facility. There were long gaps in the meals and even medicines are not available. The ambulance arrived late, even though I had been calling up the authorities for long,” said the relative, who had attended the Jamaat congregation with the man and was lodged at the facility with him.
Confirming the death, a North West district official said that the person died around 11am, when he was being shifted in an ambulance to be taken to a hospital and that he was given medicines when he fell unwell. “His body has been sent for a post-mortem examination,” the official said.
Dispelling allegations of food not being served on time, the official said, “There are 700 people at the facility. There is a standard protocol for serving food to Covid and suspected patients. We are trying to provide food on time, but there could be a delay of 15-30 minutes. Yesterday (Tuesday), a lot of new patients were shifted to this facility. As per protocol, we have to stop other activities when new patients are shifted.”
Hafiz Javed, a Delhi-based social activist, said that the government must arrange transport for people who have completed their quarantine period to their home towns or shift them to mosques, where they can be provided with proper food and medicines.
“Now that Ramzan will start from April 25, it will become really difficult for them to live at the quarantine facilities, as one needs to follow a different routine during the fasting period. The government must ensure steps are taken to resolve the issue at the earliest,” said Javed.