ADM, health dept refuse to take responsibility after serious breach of quarantine protocol as police looks on

CJM says he was let go after pleading

Staff Reporter
ITANAGAR, Apr 15: The Capital unit of the health department and the additional district magistrate have resorted to shifting blame after they breached safety and quarantine protocol as a chief judicial magistrate (CJM) was allowed to enter the capital without any urgent work.
The police are yet to issue a statement but the drama unfolded right in front of them at the Banderdewa check gate.
In sheer misuse of power, Changlang CJM Damge Niri entered the capital without following protocol and left from Itanagar the next morning with his family.
The judge was advised 14 days quarantine after being allowed entry into the capital, but he was allowed to leave the next morning for Changlang, where he is currently posted, after he reportedly said that home quarantine would be followed in Changlang.
This daily contacted CJM Niri, who said that he was stopped by the ADM and the medical team. However, he said that he pleaded them to let him go, as he had to resume his office on Monday morning.
The fact that the judge took the excuse of resuming office instead of home quarantine after he had said he would quarantine himself is clear misuse of his position and undermines the laid down safety and quarantine protocol.
“Since I did not stop anywhere in Assam, I requested the DMO and ADM to let me go home. I told them I was ready to follow the home quarantine protocol at Changlang. So I left in my vehicle as I would have to leave early in the morning from Itanagar with my family,” Niri said speaking to this daily.
Meanwhile, reacting to the news report- “Breach of lockdown protocol by CJM reported”- published in this daily on 14 April, the ADM on Wednesday said that it was the responsibility of the medical team and police personnel posted at the Banderdewa check post to strictly impose quarantine protocol at home and oversee entry and exit.
“It is only the district magistrate (DM) who has the authority to issue pass in the check post and not the ADM,” Potom said.
He said that the CJM did not have any valid pass for which the district medical officer and the medical team advised him to follow strict home quarantine.
Potom went on to claim that he was looking at another case, when a vehicle with the nameplate of the CJM entered the check gate without an entry pass and it was stopped near the medical team.
“Since the subject matter is under the jurisdiction of the medical team under the Itanagar DMO, I did not interfere as they also did not make any reference,” Potom said.
The ADM also claimed that the vehicle was sanitized after his intervention.
Potom said that the CJM told him and the Naharlagun EAC that the DMO had advised 14 days of home quarantine.
Shifting the responsibility on the medical team, Potom said, “We had asked him to comply with the direction of the DMO and he left thereafter. It is routine duty of the medical team to have strict follow-up action with regards to home quarantine protocol.”
He further said that as per police records, the CJM left the Banderdewa police check post with two vehicles and seven people as per the instruction of police and medical officers.
“During the exit on 13 April, no permission was given by the additional district magistrate,” said Potom.
Denying his involvement in allowing the CJM to enter and exit from the check gate, District Medical Officer Dr Mandip Perme claimed that he had advised the CJM to keep his official vehicle at the check gate for a day or two for sanitization. The CJM was also informed that a vehicle would be arranged for him, to be dropped off at the quarantine facility.
“After informing the CJM of the requisite protocol to be followed, I left for the screening centres to supervise the medical staff on Covid-19 duty. After 20-25 minutes, I found that the vehicle of the CJM had left the check gate without informing me. On enquiry, I found that after sanitizing the vehicle, he had left for Itanagar at his own will,” said the DMO.
He also informed that, “On the morning of 13th April, I had instructed the MO in-charge, who was on duty on the evening of 12th April, to enquire about the whereabouts of the Changlang CJM and whether he had quarantined himself. As per the report of the MO in-charge, the CJM had reported that he had already left for Changlang.”
According to the police, the CJM was allowed to cross the gate along with his family members after due consultation with the health staff on duty.
This daily stands by its report.