By the end of April, Jammu and Kashmir had 614 Covid-19 cases with 127, the highest from Bandipora, 89 from Srinagar, 84 from Baramulla, 72 from Shopian, 49 from Kupwara, 20 from Budgam, 14 from Ganderbal, 11 from Kulgam, 7 from Pulwama, 26 from Jammu, 20 from Udhampur, 4 each from Samba and Rajouri, and one each from Kathua, Kishtwar, Ramban, Reasi. So far, the highest recoveries were reported from district Srinagar where 68 patients have recovered so far.
Humanity has no religion. This comes true in the case of Roymoni Das, a 65-year-old resident of Bengal, who gets up before the dawn and serves sehri to two brothers from Kashmir. During the day, she manages eatables, whatever she is able to get in the market so that the siblings can break their fast in the evening.
Das is the landlady of Manzoor Ahmed, 44, and Fayaz Ahmed, 40. The brothers, shawl hawkers, stay in her apartment on rent every year. Post pandemic the brothers got stuck in lockdown. The Hindu family opened doors of home and joined Muslims in their pre-dawn and evening meals. Not only this time, but Raymoni family has also come to their rescue, two years back when their mother Noori passed away in Burdwan. They helped them to shift her body to Kashmir. Off-late, the ties between Kashmir and Bengal are getting stronger both at political as well as social level.
There are two probes going on in the death of a lady in labour along with her twins. Ruqaya, wife of Javed Ahmad, a resident of Kharpora (Kokernag) died along with her twins in Child and Maternity Hospital, Shair Bagh, Anantnag. Since she belonged to a village that had been declared Covid-19 Red Zone, the family has alleged the doctors ignored her as a result of which the three deaths took place. Though doctors say it was a case of ‘inter-Uterine Death’, a probe is underway. After the lady died, authorities took her samples for Covid-19 test. By the time, the test established that she was positive; the body had been handed over to the family for burial. This obviously might have brought the body in contact with a lot of people including close relatives and those in the funeral process. Another probe was ordered about how and why it happened.
When Srinagar reported its first Covid-19 death on April 27, it was a shock. But the bigger shock was unfolded later that night when the elderly lady was laid to rest by the police. The family of the lady had been isolated during the day and put in quarantine in a hotel leaving nobody around to take care of the coffin. Where were the distant relatives, the neighbours and the locality – nobody has a clue. The burial, however, led accolades to the police for doing something that even the residents skipped.
Kashmir has stood by its hospitality always. Last week when 18-year-old Rahul, a non-local labourer from Bihar fell ill at his rented accommodation in Habak, Srinagar, his fellow workers were panicked. With no option left, they informed locals in the neighbourhood. Amid strict restrictions and scare around, the locals arranged a vehicle and took Rahul to SKIMS Soura for treatment. Meanwhile, they called Deputy Commissioner Srinagar shifted Rahul to a private hospital for advanced treatment. At Khyber hospital, Rahul is said to be stable after he was put on dialysis. He had very high levels of blood urea and creatinine in the blood. While speaking to local media, his treating doctor Dr Showkat Shah has said that during treatment, at least 30 people volunteered to donate blood for Rahul, when they needed just two pints of it.
Kashmir continues to remain Pakistan’s key focus. In the Army’s annual book, according to The Hindustan Times, General Qamar Javed Bajwa has termed Kashmir as a ‘nuclear flashpoint’ in a piece in which he has written about Article 370 and Balakot. Books apart, the rival sides are pounding each other’s positions for the last 25 days, regardless of the pandemic. On both sides, Kashmir is paying a huge price for that. The recent was a teenager, a class 12th student, who was killed in Poonch. Interestingly both the countries are accusing each other of violating the so-called ceasefire.
Feeling the pain of Kashmir, a Mohali based playwright Atamjit Singh has devoted his latest work Balde Rahan Chiragh Hamesha to the situation of Kashmir. A Sangeet Natak Akademi and Sahitya Akademi awards recipient, Singh’s Kashmir play has now been translated into Hindi and Urdu. The plot of the play is based on the reality that the writer got from his friend and administrator, Khalid Hussain. Cantering on a Hindu boy raised by a Muslim family, which never stopped him from practising his Hindu faith, the script brings forth the protagonist’s dilemma when the graveyard where his Muslim father’s remains are buried is destroyed by a brick kiln owner. It has a chapter of the land which is based on the story of Rinchan, a Buddhist who later married a daughter of Kashmiri King. Later embraced Islam, as well. The play largely concentrates on the post-Independence era including the early nineties when Pandits migrated from Kashmir. Earlier Singh had written a play, Tasveer Da Teeja Pasa, on the politics of conflict, centred on incidents in Punjab and Kashmir. He has said that situation in the Valley has pushed him to devote his latest work around it. “And ever since reading up on saints like Lalleshwari and Noor-ud-Din, who are also known as Lall Ma and Nund Rishi, I felt a peculiar attraction towards that land. Many people are unaware that Nund, a Muslim saint, was breastfed by the Hindu saint Lalleshwari,” he has said.
Jaipur had emerged a safe haven for Kashmir’s seasonal migrants. People usually stay safe. Sometimes, awkward incidents are reported linking Kashmiris with the host population. Earlier this year, Kashmir received a body bag of a young man from Jaipur after the victim was beaten to death by a catering group.
Last week again, three Kashmiri boys who were working as delivery persons in Jaipur’s Hassanpura area was allegedly beaten up severely by local police. While delivering food, they were intercepted and beaten and one of the boys was seriously injured.
Details revealed that the three boys were part of a 14 member group of food deliver group that police intercepted on April 10. Upon identifying them as Kashmiris, the cops allegedly called them ‘traitors’ and began beating them up with lathis. An injured boy while talking to media has on record said that, “Police were mild on the local boys and did not hit them hard, but channelled all their energy to beat up the Kashmiri boys.” The pictures of these boys also went viral on social networking sites. This was the fourth incident of violence against Kashmiris reported in Rajasthan in the past one year.
Nature has its unique ways of interruptions. At the peak of a sunny day, there were two instances of cloudbursts in Shopian and Budgam. It triggered quick flash floods. The fury killed four girls. In Budgam, two minor sisters Rumaisa, 14, and Ruksana, 6, were washed away in the Rangwar Gul area of Chadoora. They were grazing their cattle when the floods washed them away. Hours later, the second one was reported from Shopian where two more sisters: Khalida, 25, and Sumaya, 23, daughters of Ghulam Mohammad Pal, residents of Chotipora were washed away by flash flood when they were walking on the bank of a nallah.
When life becomes a priority, nothing else matters. Last week social distancing went to tatters and corona scare was grounded in Kupwara. As a leopard made his way into a residential house in the Phrupeth, at least seven persons including two women were injured. The news spread like the fire. Locals risked their lives and came to the rescue of the family until the officials of wildlife reached the spot. There was mayhem. Later the animal was tranquillised inside the house. The injured were identified as Meema Begum (45) wife of Mohammad Sarwar Khan, Gulshan Begum (55) wife of Ghulam Nabi Dar, Mushtaq Ahmad Ganie son of Abdul Samad Ganai and two brothers namely Dilawar Dar (30), Manzoor Ahmad Dar (35) sons of Abdul Jabar Dar. Several videos of the leopard running amuck in farms and being rescued are going viral in social media.