GUWAHATI: A man in Tripura travelled more than 900 km and spent hard-earned Rs 30,000 to reach home by a car from Assam but people in his neighbourhood denied him entry on the suspicion that he was a patient of COVID-19.
His wife too was opposed to his entering the house as she was allegedly pressurized by the neighbours.
The man, Gobinda Debnath (37), was screened by health officials when he arrived on the Assam-Tripura inter-state border on Sunday. As he showed no symptoms for the disease, he was allowed to travel into the state that shares a border with Bangladesh.
However, when he reached the housing complex where his wife and kid stay in the house of his mother-in-law, the locals put up a resistance. They made it clear that they would allow him to stay there only after he undergoes 14 days’ mandatory quarantine at a government facility.
Efforts made by the health officials to convince the agitated crowd proved futile. Later, he was sent to a quarantine facility.
Ahead of the lockdown, Debnath, who works at a private firm in Tripura capital Agartala, had visited the house of his elder brother in Assam’s Silapathar to drop their father. He returned alone.
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"My wife was forced not to allow me to enter the house. She was afraid of the neighbours. They suspected that I was a COVID-19 patient but I was screened on the border. Had I been COVID-19 positive, wouldn’t they have sent me to a hospital?," Debnath argued.
His wife said she was not interested in "inviting trouble".
"I was not pressurized by anyone. I want him to return home after 14 day’s quarantine. My mother is sick and I have a kid. I cannot give shelter to him now," she said.
The woman said her husband travelled the distance even after she had asked him not to come.
Dulali Saha, a neighbour, said the lives of the locals could be threatened if Debnath was allowed to stay there now.
"If he turns out to be a COVID-19 patient in the next 14 days, our lives will be threatened. Let him come after 14 days," she said.
District Health Officer Dr. Sangeeta Chakraborty said the hundreds of people in the locality had not followed the guidelines on social distancing while they were preventing the man from entering the house.
"They said he is a COVID-19 patient and asked me to take him wherever I want. They were not ready to accept that he was not a patient. They opposed everything that I said," Dr. Chakraborty said.
"We sent him to a quarantine facility but that is not an ideal place for him. He should be in home quarantine," she added.
Of the 151 COVID-19 cases in Tripura, 148 were reported from two BSF battalion headquarters.