A suo moto case has been filed against BJP lawmaker and former Tripura Health Minister Sudip Roy Barman on Sunday evening for violating COVID-19 norms and "unauthorised" entry inside a Covid care centre.
The BJP lawmaker landed in trouble after he, wearing a PPE kit, visited the centre in his constituency in Agartala after a patient posted videos on social media depicting lack of proper arrangements at the facility.
Mr Barman has also been asked to stay in 14-day institutional quarantine by the West Tripura Distrist Magistrate to "ensure his and the safety of the community at large."
The BJP MLA, however, refused to go into institutional quarantine, alleging ulterior motive.
He asked why the memorandum issued by the District Magistrate against him reached media and went viral on social media before even reaching him.
It all began on Sunday when Mr Barman went to Bhagat Singh Yuba Awas to take stock of conditions there as numerous allegation of negligence had been raised against the centre.
Recently, a pregnant woman went live on Facebook, begging help from the state government, alleging "pathetic conditions" at the centre.
"The deplorable living conditions at the centre had moved me. Whatever the reasons may be, a strict monitoring is needed for the patients' safety and comfort," Mr Barman, walking alongside the patients, told media.
The MLA also distributed fruits to the patients.
The West Tripura district magistrate, Sandeep Mahatme N, held Mr Barman guilty for the violation of guidelines, set by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, for an "unauthorised" entry into a Covid care centre, where only "authorised and trained persons or those designated to work in these areas" are allowed.
Mr Barman, however, maintained, "Firstly, I ought to have been clinically assigned as very mild/mild, moderate, severe pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic Covid Patient by a medical officer for going into quarantine. Secondly, I had put on the PPE Kit advised by trained doctors posted at the Bhagat Singh Covid care centre and had taken all precautionary measures so that I don't get contaminated and had maintained more than 1 metre of distance with Covid Patients. Thirdly, my going to the CCC (Covid Care Centre) was in the knowledge of the DHS (Directorate of Health Services), as well as the MS (Medical Supervisor) of GB Pant Hospital and thus my entry was not unauthorised. Since, Prior intimation had reached the persons concerned, that is the reason immediately after my arrival, the main gate was opened and the doctors present there took me to the changing room wherein the PPE Kit was given to me."
Mr Barman,who was sacked from the state cabinet in June last year, had been a vocal critic of the Biplab Deb-led BJP government on different issues.