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Tripura BJP MLA Defies Quarantine Orders

Agartala:  Ruling BJP MLA in Tripura and former State Health Minister Sudip Roy Barman on Monday defied orders to go into quarantine after visiting a Covid Care Centre (CCC) and distributing fruits among the Covid patients here on Sunday.

Barman in reply to the West Tripura District Magistrate (DM) Sandeep Mahatme’s letter, said: “Some vested interested persons are trying to put me intentionally in the quarantine centre so that I can easily come in contact with others who have tested positive for the coronavirus, which could be hazardous to my health.”

He also wrote that he had neither clinically or otherwise tested positive for COVID-19, nor was he a symptomatic or asymptomatic patient.

The BJP MLA told the media that an FIR was registered against him on Monday.

Barman became the Health and Family Welfare, Information Technology and Science and Technology Minister after the BJP-led alliance government came to power in Tripura in March 2018. He was sacked from the cabinet in May last year. He is one of the architects of the BJP-IPFT (Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura) government, which wrested power from the Left Front in the 2018 Assembly polls.

Soon after, he visited the CCC here, the West Tripura District Magistrate in an order asked Barman to remain in institutional quarantine for seven days followed by a seven day home quarantine.

“Under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, subsequent ordinance, and the Disaster Management Act, 2005, for the safety of yours and the community at large you are hereby directed to remain in quarantine,” said the DM’s order to the MLA.

Refusing to go into any kind of quarantine, Barman in a strongly worded letter to the District Magistrate said: “I have not been tested or having any symptoms and not being advised by medical officer. I went to the CCC wearing the Personal Protective Equipment and other kits. Could you please enlighten me as to how SP, DM, Zilla Sabhadipati of Sepahijala District (another district of Tripura) being tested positive for Covid could remain in home isolation.”

The former Minister said that on July 22, four doctors operated upon a corona positive pregnant woman (at a hospital here) and were allowed to resume their duties the next day while a journalist of a local television channel and a senior retired police officer both tested positive but were allowed to be in home quarantine.

The 54-year-old leader led six other MLAs to join the BJP in June 2017 from the Trinamool Congress. All the seven had earlier been elected to the state Assembly on Congress tickets.

Meanwhile, Tripura police last week launched a probe into a gathering of people at the MLA Hostel residence of Barman, who allegedly flouted restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the District Magistrates of all eight districts of Tripura imposed a night curfew from 9 p.m. with effect from July 11 and the state government has enforced a total lockdown for three days from Monday.

The Tripura government in compliance with the central government orders had also prohibited social, political and religious gatherings in the state up to July 31.

Reacting to the issue BJP spokesman Nabendu Bhattacharjee said that the law would take its own course.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the issues involving Barman, son of former Tripura Chief Minister Samir Barman, became a hot political issue in BJP ruled Tripura.

(IANS)

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