You are aware an island journalist named Mr Zubair Ahmed has been taken into police custody yesterday night reportedly for a tweet that read as below :

Can someone explain why families are placed under home quarantine for speaking over phone with Covid patients?

In my wildest dreams, I can’t imagine Corona Virus could spread through phone calls. But when news of persons put on quarantine for speaking over phone with covid positive patient comes, what would anyone do? Seek clarity. This is exactly what the journalist did.

In fact he was not the only one. A local daily reported a family of four from Haddo, a town near Port Blair was put in home quarantine after a member from the family spoke over phone with a corona positive relative. Since physical movement is not allowed in lockdown, it is obvious for relatives and friends to call each other over phone. That is how one keeps in touch and motivates each other at the hour of crisis. Everyone does that.

Also protocol doesn’t allow identifying a Covid-19 patient, then how will anyone know the one he/she is calling is covid positive. It is logic defying insanity to make phone calls the basis for putting someone under quarantine. At the most it could be a tool for contact tracing, but to make phone calls the basis for putting someone under quarantine is unprecedented.

For the first time in this lockdown, I had sleepless night thinking if one can be arrested for putting out such a simple tweet in a civilized manner, what lies ahead?

In a free country, questions are asked for larger good, concerned authority answers them and issues are laid to rest. That is how democracy is known to function. But in this instant, without answering the question, the journalist has been arrested. It appears, an attempt is being made to trample democracy, muzzle citizen’s right to freedom of speech and create a chilling effect. I condemn such police action and demand all charges against Mr Zubair Ahmed be withdrawn.

(From someone who does not want to be identified.

No, not because he/she is covid positive, you know why?)