Kashmiri woman in NIA custody tests positive for COVID-19

She, her husband were arrested in March for allegedly inciting anti-CAA protests

A Kashmiri woman arrested by the Delhi police earlier this year for allegedly inciting protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and for promoting Islamic State’s ideology in the national capital has tested positive for COVID-19 while in the custody of the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

A senior NIA officer confirmed that the agency had taken custody of the woman, Hina Bashir Beg, 39, and her husband Jahanzaib Sami, 36, on May 29. Earlier, the couple was lodged in Tihar jail since their arrest on March 8. The duo came under the scanner after their “suspicious activities” on cyberspace were noticed by intelligence agencies.

Admitted to hospital

“When the couple was taken into custody, they were tested for COVID-19 and their reports were negative. Their custody was to end on June 8. Before handing over the couple to the Tihar authorities, they reconducted COVID-19 test and this time the wife [Hina] tested positive and her husband’s report was negative,” said the officer.

Hina has been shifted to the Lok Nayak Hospital where she is undergoing treatment, while the entire NIA team probing her has been quarantined.

The officer said that after Hina tested positive, they conducted an internal probe to identify more persons who came in contact with her.

Two NIA staff members who were on control room duty had tested positive. The control room is located right in front of the lock-up, therefore, there are high chances that Hina contracted the infection from one of them. The lock-up area and the entire floor has been sanitised.

Hina’s lawyer M.S. Khan said he has moved a plea seeking two-month interim bail for his client. “The condition of government hospitals in Delhi is very bad. During the bail period she can go to the best private hospital for treatment. Even jail is also not safe, cases of COVID-19 have been reported from there too,” said Mr. Khan.

At the time of the couple’s arrest, the Delhi police had claimed that they had moved to Delhi from Srinagar in August 2019.

The husband was working with a private company, while the wife stayed at home. The police had allegedly recovered incriminating material from their rented flat in Jamia Nagar.

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