‘We may die inside’: How India’s prisons became sitting ducks for Covid-19

Overcrowded prisons with inadequate medical facilities have inmates in India terrified for their health as measures to contain the virus fall short. Akshita Jain reports from Delhi

Saturday 12 June 2021 07:11
<p>Prisoners wait to be released on parole from Naini central jail in Allahabad</p>

Prisoners wait to be released on parole from Naini central jail in Allahabad

Jailed Indian activist Umar Khalid woke up with a fever and a body ache in his Tihar prison cell in April this year. He immediately went to the jail’s medical facility to get tested for Covid-19, but was sent back with a few medicines.

He finally got a Covid test, which came back positive, only after six days of symptoms and a court order, according to an account Khalid, who was arrested under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) back in September 2020, wrote in a column for The Print.

Khalid has since recovered from Covid, but there are many in India’s over-occupied jails who haven’t been as lucky. Lawyers say there’s one refrain they hear time and again from clients: “We may die inside.”

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