A Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel died on Tuesday due to coronavirus. This is the first coronavirus related death among the CRPF or the paramilitary forces that function under the Union Home Ministry for maintenance of internal security.
Mohammad Ikram Hussain, a 55-year-old assistant sub-inspector in the CRPF, was admitted to Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital a few days back after he was tested positive for coronavirus.
"The personnel died on Tuesday due to COVID-19 infection. He was posted with the 31st battalion of the force based in Delhi," a senior official said. Hussain who hailed from Barpeta district in Assam was posted in Mayur Vihar, Phase-3 in Delhi.
Forty-six CRPF personnel belonging to the battalion have also been diagnosed with the coronavirus after it was suspected that they had come in contact with one of the colleagues who was a carrier of COVID-19. The test results of 257 CRPF personnel are awaited, all the 1,100 battalion members have been quarantined. The forty-six who been tested positive have been shifted to the government quarantine centre in Mandoli.
There is anxiety and confusion regarding the duration of the quarantine period among the force as they have issued two separate directives which state different time periods for quarantine. The first order from the Deputy Director-General stated a quarantine period of 5 days while a later order said 14 days.
Speaking to India Today, AP Maheswhari, CRPF DG said, "Yes, we received dichotomous orders. After that came to our knowledge, we held a meeting and also referred the matter to ADG Medical, CAPF." Sources said unhappy over the recent development, the force has now asked for a written explanation from Director Medical to the DG, CRPF by April 30.
Few positive cases have also been discovered in other Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) like the BSF and CISF.
The CRPF is country's largest paramilitary force with about 3.25 lakh personnel in its ranks and it is designated as the lead internal security force apart from the mainstay for anti-Naxal operations and counter-terrorism duties in the Kashmir valley.
Meanwhile, India has reported 22,629 active cases of coronavirus (as of 8 am, April 29), according to the Health Ministry. Total deaths stood at 1,007 As many as 7,695 patients have been cured or discharged and 1 migrated.