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Manipur Congress questions violation of state COVID-19 quarantine guidelines by Assam minister

Congress leaders Gaurav Gogoi and Ajay Maken who too came to the state last Friday, were straightway placed under quarantine.

SNS | New Delhi |

The Manipur Congress Monday demanded an investigation by the Health department on whether Assam’s Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma followed proper quarantine guidelines during his visit here on Sunday. Manipur Congress vice president Kh. Ratankumar said, “The visiting leader had public interaction and we have photographic evidence of it.”

He, however, did not mention the name of Meghalaya Chief Minister and National People’s Party (NPP) leader Conrad K Sangma, who accompanied BJP’s Sarma to Imphal as part of the patch-up efforts between the two NDA partners in Manipur.

The Manipur Congress leader questioned whether there are different quarantine policies in the state for different people. “Are there separate guidelines for political adversaries including the Congress and unwritten guidelines for the BJP and any of their allies?” he asked.

He was referring to Congress leaders Gaurav Gogoi and Ajay Maken who too came to the state last Friday, and were straightway placed under quarantine.

Sangma, who is also the national president of the NPP, and Sarma had flown to Manipur capital Sunday and returned the same night. Sarma is also convener of the North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA).

They had come to hammer out differences between the BJP and the NPP in Manipur. The state is witnessing a political crisis, triggered by resignation of nine ruling BJP-led coalition MLAs, including four NPP ministers, on Wednesday last week.

Ratankumar claimed that before coming to the state, Gogoi and Maken had followed all formalities, including taking approval from the airport for the “landing of chartered flight”.

“The leaders never met anyone” and went directly to the Hotel where they have been quarantined, as per the existing SOP of the state, Ratankumar said. “It is unfortunate that they are being alleged to have broken quarantine protocols,” he told reporters. He accused the ruling government of being “partisan” and questioned the quarantine policy of the state.

For Maken and Gogoi, who had come to the state to take stock of the political situation, Monday is the fourth day of quarantine in their respective rooms in an Imphal hotel, designated as institutional-quarantine centre.

Sarma, who is Assam’s Health Minister had said on Sunday he did not violate any COVID-19 guidelines. “A person who comes for a day-long visit is exempted from quarantine in both Assam and Manipur,” said Sarma.

Manipur has been witnessing a spike in COVID-19 cases. The count of infections jumped to 898 on Monday. A total of 250 patients have recovered, leaving 591 active cases.