New Delhi, May 2: One of the 106 men accused in the Palghar mob lynching case tested positive for coronavirus late on Friday. The district administration said the man was asymptomatic, but was hospitalised and kept in isolation on Saturday morning.

On the night of April 16, a mob of close to 400 men gathered outside Gadchinchle village on the border of Dahanu taluka and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Fuelled by rumours of gangs of thieves and organ harvesters roaming the area at night, the mob stopped a van and fatally assaulted its occupants, two sadhus and the driver.

Police on April 17 detained 110 suspects, including nine juveniles who were sent to a children’s home, while the adults were lodged in different lock-ups in Palghar district. Another batch of five suspects was arrested on April 30.

The man who tested positive on Friday is 55 years old, and was kept among a group of 20 other suspects in a lock-up in Wada, The Indian Express reported. 

“According to the standard operating procedure now in place, all suspects being taken into custody are tested for coronavirus. His report was inconclusive earlier, and on retesting, he tested positive this morning. He was hospitalised and we have placed 46 others in quarantine, including other accused in that lock-up, policemen who may have come in contact with him and healthcare workers,” said Palghar Collector Dr Kailash Shinde.

Officials said health workers will now also visit his village, a hamlet near Gadchinchle village, to screen villagers for symptoms and take swabs. Health department officials of Palghar are also studying how the accused got infected and will continue intensive contact tracing. His family members will also be placed in quarantine, officials said.

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