Guwahati, May 23 (IANS) The Assam Police launched a massive search operation on Sunday to trace around 500 people who fled from the state’s Jagiroad railway station, skipping the mandatory Covid test, officials said.
Police and health officials said that around 500 passengers who came from south Indian states, overpowered health officials in the railway station, and fled, creating panic in the area, around 60 km from Guwahati.
Police said that of the around 500 people, including women and children, a majority are migrant workers, and had travelled by the Kanyakumari-Dibrugarh Vivek Express that had started from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu and traversed Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and West Bengal over five days.
The police and health officials could hold back only a handful of passengers after they had disembarked from the train.
Sunday’s incident seemed like a replay of a similar one that was reported at southern Assam’s Silchar airport where over 600 passengers escaped the mandatory testing for Covid-19 after they had arrived at the airport in different flights last month.
The Health Department had arranged Covid-testing for the aircraft passengers at a nearby hospital and made available transportation but over 600 passengers escaped.
The Assam government, modifying its earlier SOP, had last month made seven day home quarantine mandatory for the people coming to Assam by flights and trains even if the result of their Covid test is negative. However, government officials, those travelling for medical reasons, citizens of other northeastern states and people with bereavement cases shall be exempted, said the SOP.