Peasant leader Akhil Gogoi, who was arrested by the NIA for his alleged role in violent protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act last year, tested positive for novel coronavirus inside the Guwahati Central Jail on Saturday. "Akhil Gogoi tested positive in the antigen test this evening. He will be shifted to Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) now," Inspector General (Prisons) Dasarath Das told news agency PTI.
A total of 55 inmates, including Gogoi, have tested positive at the jail, forcing the authorities to issue orders for taking samples of all the 1,069 prisoners.
The health officials did three tests of Gogoi -- two antigen and one swab test (RT-PCR) -- and only the last antigen sample came positive, Das said.
Two others -- Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) leaders Bittu Sonowal and Dhairjya Konwar -- have also tested positive and are being treated at the GMCH, while Gogoi's fourth associate, Manash Konwar, has tested negative, Das said.
He stated that a total of 55 inmates inside the jail had tested positive so far and they had been shifted to three hospitals in the city.
"After this increased number, we have now ordered to test all inmates of the jail," the IG said.
Civil society groups, eminent persons and opposition parties have been long demanding the release of Gogoi, citing the the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gogoi was arrested on December 12 from Jorhat as a "preventive measure" in view of the deteriorating law and order situation in the state during the protests against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act and his colleagues were taken into custody later.
(With PTI inputs)