19 Indian nationals out of contact since they left a quarantine facility in Saptari on Wednesday nightThe individuals managed to leave the Koshi Basic School quarantine despite round the clock security provided by Nepal Police and Armed Police Force personnel.
Nineteen Indian nationals staying at a quarantine facility in Hanuman Nagar Kankalini Municipality Ward 1 (Koshi Barrage) left the facility on Wednesday night and have been out of contact since.
The individuals managed to leave the Koshi Basic School quarantine despite round the clock security provided by personnel from Nepal Police and the Armed Police Force.
There were 72 Indian nationals staying in quarantine for the last two weeks. They were on the way to West Bengal and Bihar of India from various parts of the country but were refused entry to Province 1 and were instead quarantined in Saptari.
The other 53 people at the facility came to know about those who left the facility only on Thursday morning. “Their belongings including bags, slippers and shoes were found in their room. All of them were staying in a single room,” said Mukesh Kumar, one of the Indian nationals staying in the quarantine. “There are security personnel deployed 24/7. How did they manage to flee the facility unsuspected?”
Koshi barrage is the border between Provinces 1 and 2. “The missing individuals have not reached Sunsari. They can only enter India by crossing the Koshi river on a boat,” said a local resident. “Those who escaped from the facility must be hiding in one of the settlements.”
Since the lockdown, the local unit and security personnel have been monitoring all boats on the Koshi river, according to locals. Hanuman Nagar Kankalini Municipality has been providing food and accommodation for the individuals staying in the quarantine. According to the municipality, those at the facility haven’t undergone coronavirus tests.
Washing his hands off the situation, Mayor Shailesh Kumar Sah said the municipality is only responsible for providing food, accommodation and treatment for those in the quarantine. “How nineteen people escaped the facility amid high security is something the security personnel will have to answer,” said Sah.
However, Saptari police said their personnel were also unaware of such an incident until Thursday morning. “There were only 53 Indian nationals in the quarantine when we conducted a headcount in the morning. That’s when we realised that 19 had gone missing over the night,” said Tilak Bharati, deputy superintendent of police in Saptari, adding that they are searching for the missing.
The Post tried to contact Sagir Rain, a sub-inspector deployed at the Area Police Office in Bhardaha, but he was not available for comment. Bhardaha police have been guarding the quarantine facility. On Friday, the District Police Office recalled Rain and four other police personnel and deputed a new sub-inspector to the facility. Asked about the new transfer, Bharati said, “It’s our internal matter.”
Sunil Khanal, the Saptari chief district officer, did not comment on the incident. “I don’t know anything about the missing Indians. You have to ask the respective chiefs about the matter. I don’t want to make any comments,” said Khanal.