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Imprison coronavirus lockdown violators, Centre tells states

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The Centre on Thursday told state governments that those violating the coronavirus lockdown or obstructing officials should be imprisoned amid reports of doctors and healthcare personnel being attacked.

In a letter to all chief secretaries of the states and union territories, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla directed states and union territories to book those who violate lockdown rules or make false claims under relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Disaster Management Act, 2005 ,

“Violators of lockdown should be punished under the IPC. Anyone obstructing enforcement of lockdown could be punishable for jail term of up to 2 years,” Bhalla wrote according to PTI.

Nine days into the 21-day lockdown ordered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to break the chain of transmission of the virus, the number of infected people in the country has reached almost 2,000 while more than 50 have died so far.

The home secretary’s letter came in the wake of reports of violation of lockdown in different parts of the country and people clashing with health workers and police.

Under the Disaster Management Act, obstructing government officials from discharging their duties can land the offender in jail for a year which could extend to two years if the obstruction results in a death and anyone making false claim on any matter can be punished up to two years of jail with fine and laws.

“Anyone making false claim on any matter can be punished up to 2 years of jail with fine and laws,” his letter said.

Under the Disaster Management Act, misappropriation of money or material in disaster-like situation invites two years of jail with fine.

The home secretary reminded the chief secretaries that he had already asked them to strictly implement the lockdown measures issued by the home ministry under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 without any exception.

The government invoked the Disaster Management Act on March 24 to enforce the lockdown shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced it.


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