COVID-19: Lock down enforced in Kashmir, life remains crippled for 5th day

COVID-19: Lock down enforced in Kashmir, life remains crippled for 5th day

Srinagar:  Authorities on Monday enforced a lock down to contain the spread of Coronavirus in Srinagar, and other parts of Kashmir valley, where normal life remained crippled due to strict restrictions since a woman was tested positive for the infection.

The woman from downtown Srinagar, who had returned on March 16 from Saudi Arabia after performing Umrah, became the first person in the valley to be tested positive for Coronavirus on Thursday. So far Kashmir has registered only one case while three cases were recorded in Jammu.

Shops and business establishments remained closed while streets were deserted as locals and traffic were off the roads in the valley, where police vehicles fitted with public address system were directing people to remain indoors in view of imposition of restrictions under 144 CrPc, barring assembly of more than three people.

No special prayers were held in Hazratbal shrine, which houses the holy relic of Prophet Muhammad, and other mosques on the occasion of Mehrai-ul-Alam following J&K Muslim Wakf Board suspending prayers at its affiliated mosques and shrines.

Meanwhile, acting tough against violating of government order, many shops, hotels and educational institutes have been booked during the last five days in the valley, where train service also remained suspended till March 31.

The J&K administration on Sunday announced a complete lock down till March 31 across the Union Territory as part of its efforts to prevent spread of Coronavirus. However, people associated with 16 essential services, including healthcare, groceries, fruit, milk, petrol, banks and media have been exempted from lock down.

”There will be complete shutdown of establishments in District Srinagar with effect from Sunday at 2000 hrs till March 31 at 1800 hrs. Essential Services exempted,” Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Shahid Iqbal Chaudhary said.

The streets in uptown and civil lines were deserted as shops and business establishment were closed and traffic was off the roads though few private vehicles were plying. Security forces were deployed in these areas through they were not stopping the vehicles.

However, the situation was entirely different in downtown, where people alleged that they were not allowed to move out of their houses even to buy groceries and vegetables.

Security forces have closed the main roads in downtown and SeK with barbed wires at Nawa Kadal, Rajouri Kadal, Kawdara and Khanyar. Similar road blocks remained erected by security forces at Nowhatta, Rangar stop and Gojwara. “Since early this morning, security forces were making announcement through loudspeakers, directing people to remain indoors in view of curfew imposed in the district. When I tried to move out of his house to buy vegetables he was directed to go inside,” Muzafar Ahmad, a resident of Nawakadal, told UNI.

Meanwhile, Mr Chaudhary thanked people for informing about 29 people coming from Bangkok, UK, Dubai, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, who skipped medical teams by changing routes or avoiding travel history.
”Thank u everyone around for ur DMs and calls to control room. Medical, IT & Surveillance teams today were able to track 29 people coming from Bangkok, UK, Dubai, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan etc who skipped medical teams by changing routes or avoiding travel history. Love you all,” Mr Chaudhary twitted.

He said in last three days, authorities have accommodated 1196 people traveling from Bangladesh, Ladakh, Bangkok, Dubai, Combodia, UK etc at 24 facilities, in different categories of risk.

Similar reports of lock down were received from other parts of the valley, including Kupwara and Baramulla in north, Budagm and Ganderbal in central and Anantnag, Pulwama Kulgam in south Kashmir.