Coronavirus: First Death In Kashmir Triggers Tension In Saharanpur, Samba, Hajin

SRINAGAR: As Kashmir lowered its first Coronavirus victim in his grave in Sopore on Thursday, the tensions have peaked in Saharanpur district of Utter Pradesh. The person, a 65-year old man, referred officially as “case No 5” had spent some time in a Deoband mosque before returning home.

Municipal workers fumigate disinfectants in the area housing the Chest Disease Hospital that was recently converted into a special Covid-19 Hospital. The picture was taken minutes after one patient died on March 26, 2020. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

TVNews 18 reported from Lucknow that the patient had stayed in a mosque for three days earlier in March before reaching his Srinagar home.

Deoband Tensions

“The senior citizen had visited Deoband on March 9 and stayed there till March 11,” the report quoted SSP Saharanpur, Dinesh Kumar saying. “We cannot say with certainty if he was already infected at that moment because there is a gap of 13 days after he left Deoband by train. But we are taking no chances. The entire area has been sanitized and people are being asked to stay indoors. Three persons, who had come in contact with him, have been isolated.”

“On Thursday afternoon, a health team rushed to Mohammadiya Mosque situated in Khankaah locality of Deoband, santitized the whole area, shut down the building and also took away with them three persons who had close contact with him,” the report said.

The Times of India reported that people who stayed with the Kashmir preacher have been sent to quarantine at a special quarantine facility at IIT Saharanpur. “Two policemen who had offered namaz at the same mosque on March 13 have been sent on leave for home quarantine as a precautionary measure,” the newspaper reported from Lucknow.

A Sopore born Srinagar resident, the patient was admitted to the Chest Disease Hospital on March 22, where he breathed last on March 24. “Five doctors and over a dozen health workers, who treated him at two hospitals before his admission at CD Hospital, have been put under home quarantine,” the Chandigarh based newspaper The Tribune reported. “Four of his close aides were found positive on Wednesday after they met him at a mosque in Samba district, where hundreds of followers of the Islamic seminary Darul Uloom, Deoband in Uttar Pradesh, had assembled between March 12 and March 16 for a religious congregation.”

Hajin Quarantine

Another town that is tense is Hajan in Srinagar’s periphery on the way to Bandipore. All the four persons who were detected positive had close contact with the patient. “All the four had travelled to Delhi to participate in a Tablighi congregation held at Nizamuddin Markaz Masjid, where they met the deceased,” the National Herald reported.

Coronavirus: Are We Ready?

Now the police have completely taken over the village. The deserted streets have only two things visible, the cops and the concertina wire barricades. The lockdown was enforced on the town after the residents revealed that after the four persons returned home, they arranged a gathering in the mosque and later attended a mourning event. They also said the four persons shook hands with everybody and hugged them too.

“We have two sets of quarantines, one for the residents who have returned from a foreign location. They were 35 and 15 of them were sent home after they completed 14 days,” one senior officer told Kashmir Life from Hajan said. “In another facility we have 77 including the families of the four persons who had tested positive in Srinagar. They all are asymptomatic but they will remain in quarantine for two weeks.”

The officer said they had referred 17 suspects to Srinagar of whom four proved positive and results of all others are awaited.

This facility is in addition to one that operates in Bandipore where a number of residents from Aloosa have been kept. This was done after one person from that belt tested positive in Baramulla.

Family Version

Earlier, the reports suggested that the family had avoided properly briefing the doctors about his travel. Now, the family has revealed everything insisting that no doctor admitted him either in SKIMS or at JVC.

Zafar Ahmad Anim, victim’s doctor nephew broke the silence after losing his uncle saying that they first took the patient to SKIMS Hospital, Bemina, on March 18 during which he was advised to go for home quarantine. As his condition deteriorated, the family took him to SMHS Hospital on March 22, from where he was referred to CD Hospital and admitted there.

The family said they had revealed every bit of his travel history. Nowhere, however, was he admitted. Apparently, the protocol in vogue suggested that doctors should admit the patients with foreign travel and not those who had travelled within the country.

Now, a senior civil administration officer has been tasked to probe in the alleged mishandling of the particular patient.


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