Over 300 passengers, who landed at the Silchar airport on Wednesday, created disorder and fled the facility to escape mandatory COVID-19 testing.

Authorities on Thursday asserted that criminal action will be initiated against them.

Cachar district Additional Deputy Commissioner Sumit Sattawan said a total of 690 passengers arrived at the airport from various parts of the country aboard six aircraft.

He said they were supposed to undergo swab tests at the airport and the nearby Tikol Model Hospital.

"Around 300 people created a chaos at both places, mainly overpayment of Rs 500 for the tests," he said.

The Assam government has made it mandatory for all air passengers arriving in the state to undergo a free Rapid Antigen Test followed by an RT-PCR test for Rs 500 even if the report of the RAT comes negative.

Asserting that the passengers had violated the rules, the officer said, "We have their database and we will track them. We will initiate criminal action under Section 188 of the IPC (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and other relevant provisions."

Of the 690 passengers, 189 were tested and six were found infected with the virus. Many were exempted from testing as they were transit passengers on their way to neighboring states like Manipur, Mizoram, and Tripura, Sattawan said.

The Assam government had on Wednesday night announced that all people coming from outside will have to undergo seven days of compulsory home quarantine, as the state's COVID-19 tally shot up to 2,29,138 with 1,150 fatalities.

The district administration has decided to lodge FIRs against all of them under Section 180 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the disaster management act for violating Covid protocols.
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