Briefing June 7 – June 13, 2020


Dr Naveed Nazir Shah, Pulmonologist

After leading the fight against Coronavirus for more than two months, the leading pulmonologist and head of the Chest Diseases Hospital, Dr Naveed Nazir contracted Covid-19 virus. He is now patient of the same hospital which he heads. Many of his colleagues in the hospital have been sent in administrative quarantine and will be tested for the virus. Though Dr Naveed’s test results triggered panic in the medical fraternity, he is still working. Earlier a senior IAS officer also tested positive which sent alarm bells among the ruling elite. Almost 100 of his contacts have been quarantined including some officers. Most of them have tested negative.


Family members of a Doda man waiting outside a hospital in Jammu. Their family head contracted Covid-19 and died. When the family was busy in cremation in their Doda village, they were attacked by a mob. forcing them to flee with the half-burnt body.

The families of Covid positives are having a tough time in the Jammu and Kashmir – not because of the disease but because of indifference. A heart numbing incident was reported from Domana (Doda) where the family of a deceased patient was seen running with his half-burnt body. The deceased, a 72 years old man succumbed on June 1 at GMC Jammu. When the family was busy in his last rites a mob appeared on the scene and pelted stones and attacked the family with sticks, and police officials present at the scene failed to control the mob. The incident led the family to flee away from the cremation ground in an ambulance along with the officials from the administration. The half-burnt body was later taken to another cremation ground at Bhagwati Nagar in Jammu for the last rites.


Dr Shah Faesal

The happiness was short-lived this time for the family of IAS turned politician Dr Shah Faesal who was released last week after his PSA was revoked. After meeting his family and some close relatives and friends, he reached out to his social media outlets where he thanked his well-wishers and wrote he has been put under house arrest. Barely after spending 24 hours with his family at Ompora residence, he was shifted to his official residence J-5 in Jawahar Nagar by a local police party that came to his house on Thursday afternoon. The only IAS topper from Kashmir, Shah was arrested immediately after he appeared in BBC’s Hard Talk show from Delhi airport and then shifted to SKICC which was changed to a sub-jail in the post-August 5, 2019, situation. After complete six months under “preventive detention”, he was slapped with PSA in February 2020.


Even if the world is fighting the pandemic but the crime-related incidents are still happening. Last week two heart-wrenching cases were reported from south Kashmir. The first case was reported from Uttersoo in Kulgam where a 14-year-old girl was found 8 months pregnant and after investigation, it was found that she was repeatedly raped by her relative and neighbour. The accused, 35-year-old man has been arrested by the local police.  The victim, reportedly, in her statement to police, has accused the man of giving her sedatives and raping her.

Another incident was reported from Wuyan Khrew in Pampore area where another minor, a 3-year-old girl was raped by her 10-year-old cousin. The father of the minor had reported the case in the local police station, and after the doctors have confirmed rape the local arrested the accused minor and filed an FIR numbered 28/2020 under section 376 – punishment for rape – under the Indian Penal Code and sections 3(A) and 4 – punishment for penetrative sexual assault – of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act.


Sajjad Khan is the volunteer who is helping bury the individuals dying of Covid-19 in Srinagar. He started volunteering for the services in wake of the families and the professionals associated with the burial hesitating in burying the people dying of Covid-19.

At the time when managing dead because of Coronavirus has become a crisis as close family members are already put under isolation, Sajad Khan, 37, has become a ray of hope for many such families. Since May 27, 2020, when Khan received the first call from a police officer to bury a person in Fateh Kadal, he has been burying the dead because of Covid-19, who have been “abandoned” for the fear of contagion. Presently working with 20 more volunteers, Khan and his friends wear full PPE gear for the burial and once the work is done, they burn the PPE and go under a 14-day quarantine. If the need arises, he then sends more of his volunteers for the funeral.


File photo of doctors and Paramedical staff protests against harassment of health workers in Srinagar

Last week, epidemiologist, Dr Muzaffar Ahmad was allegedly beaten by paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Chadoora town of Budgam district when he was on his way to the hospital. He was hit by batons in his legs and shoulders and received multiple blows in the abdomen. He was hospitalised after the incident. The doctor was reported to have said that while he was crossing a CRPF barricade to catch a vehicle for the hospital the paramilitary troopers stopped him and beat him “ruthlessly”. The incident happened only a few days after the top police officials directed their men to facilitate the hassle-free movement of health professionals and workers. In various photo-ops, cops were seen presenting roses to the medical staff.


National Institute of Technology (NIT) Srinagar

Nobody knew the crescent sighting in India and Pakistan on two different days could land students in trouble in Kashmir. But yes last week at least 14 Kashmiri scholars presently studying in prestigious NIT Srinagar were in trouble for passing on memes on the occasion of Eid. These memes were made in light of the fact that Eid coincided in J&K and Pakistan but a fellow student complained about the issue with college authorities. An internal committee has been formed to look into the complaint where they have been accused of posting “anti-national” memes on an official WhatsApp group of the researchers. Reportedly the institute has decided to halt the fellowships of these scholars, even though the university officially denies it has taken any such action.


Zaira-Wasim file image

After quitting Bollywood, Kashmiri actor Zaira Wasim who is much active on her social networking sites with posts from Quranic verses and Hadith was trolled last week on one such post. At the time when locust have started swarming in India after destroying crops in Pakistan, she posted a Quranic post saying, “So We sent upon them the flood and locusts and lice and frogs and blood: Signs openly self-explained: but they were steeped in arrogance — a people given to sin. –Qur’an 7:133.” Soon after she started receiving hateful comments from netizens who interpreted her post as a justification of the locust attacks. Shortly after being deluged with such comments, Zaira deleted her Twitter and Instagram accounts. However, there were a few netizens who felt Zaira had done nothing wrong and supported her by starting #ISupportZairaWasim.


P Namgyal

Sometimes your loyalty can prove deadly and it proved to be so in Ladakh where at least 150 people were quarantined after they rushed to condole the death of their leader, a former union cabinet minister, Congressman P Namgyal, who has tested positive posthumously. In a rush of emotions, they all had rushed to the top leader’s home and consoled his family members. Soon after the funeral was over at least four of his close relatives were tested for coronavirus, of whom two have tested positive and two negative. Those advised to be in-home quarantine include the Chief Executive Councillor of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh and at least four of his executive councillors. Also, there are some top officials of the Ladakh UT administration, politicians, some doctors, journalists, police officials and even commoners who have been quarantined. Authorities have already collected their samples and sent them for testing.

Namgyal was a veteran Ladakh leader who represented the desert region, now a UT, in parliament thrice. With his death, the Ladakh region reported the first Coronavirus death. However, some pilgrims from Kargil have died earlier of the pandemic in Iran.

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