‘Third world region of a Third world country’: How Kashmir struggles with the Coronavirus

While a lockdown is nothing new, a healthcare system in shambles and a sluggish internet make Kashmir particularly suited for the virus to spread as India looks away. Soon after the first patient of COVID-19 – a 67-year-old woman who had recently travelled to Saudi Arabia — tested positive on March 18, a team of health professionals and volunteers were sent to Khanyar to sanitise the area. They were also tasked with tracing the people the woman may have had contact with.  Meanwhile, police personnel began patrolling in their jeeps. With…

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Post uproaring across J&K, Centre amends domicile rule

The Union home ministry on Friday evening amended the new domicile rule for Jammu and Kashmir issued this week that had triggered howls of protest in the Kashmir valley. In its final form, only domiciled residents of J&K will be eligible to apply for recruitment in the union territory. In the earlier version notified on Tuesday evening, the home ministry had reserved only subordinate posts for the domiciled residents. For other jobs under the union territory, people from any part of the country could apply. The new order issued a…

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#Coronavirus: As lockdown enters 13th-day, 26 Areas across J&K declared as ‘Red Zones’

Amid continuing lockdown and restrictions for the 13th consecutive day, the government Tuesday declared 26 areas in Jammu and Kashmir as “red zones” in view of the surge in coronavirus cases in the Union Territory. According to Directorate of Information and Public Relations, Mehjoor Nagar, Natipora, Lal Bazar, Eidgah and Shalteng areas in Srinagar district and Chadoora in Budgam district and Waskura in Ganderbal district of central Kashmir have been declared as “Red Zones”. The other “red zone” areas are Parray Mohala, Chandergeer, Batagund in the Hajin area of north…

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National Highway remained closed for 5th consecutive day, Faulty excavation leads to the frequent closure

For the frequent closure of Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, many blame the ‘faulty’ excavation work being carried on along its Banihal-Ramban stretch. “The excavation work being undertaken by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI),” an official said, “triggers frequent landslides due to which road remains blocked quite often”. He said as the Banihal-Ramban stretch is already a landslide and shooting stone prone area, the standard engineering techniques are not being considered at all. “The executing agency has ignored the safety part and it lacks any plan to tackle the weather…

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Domicile rule for J&K defined by GoI

The definition expands to include those who have “studied for a period of seven years and appeared in class 10th/12th examination in an educational institution located in the UT of J&K.” A person residing in Jammu and Kashmir for at least fifteen years will now be eligible to be a domicile of the union territory, according to the new rule issued by the Centre Tuesday. In the latest gazette notification, Section 3A of the J&K Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws) Order 2020, under the J&K civil services (decentralization and recruitment)…

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Imagine the Indian lockdown without the internet and phones, Now think Kashmir

At 8 pm local time, on March 24, prime minister Narendra Modi gave 1.3 billion Indians a four-hour notice to confine themselves to their homes for the next 21 days. The national health emergency, to contain the spread of the coronavirus, suddenly plunged the country into uncharted waters, with most people having no experience in navigating them. In these dark times, one place that most Indians can look up to for guidance is Kashmir, with its three decades of experience with such crises. In the restive northern region, drawn closures…

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Complete clampdown across J&K till March 31: Govt

The government on Sunday extended the shutdown of all establishments in Jammu and Kashmir except essential services till March 31 to block the spread of Covid-19. After reviewing the situation today, Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam directed all the District Magistrates in the Union Territory to ensure the shutdown of all establishments except those providing essential commodities and services in their districts from March 22 till March 31. “The Deputy Commissioners will issue orders under Section 144 CrPC and also under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 to shutdown all the establishments…

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#Covid-19: Who needs to get tested for Coronavirus? ICMR issues guidelines

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has issued guidelines for a new testing strategy for effective tracking of Covid-19 cases. The new policy, released late on Friday night, says asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts of an infected person should be tested between the fifth day and 14th day of coming into contact with the patient. It also says all patients hospitalized with severe acute respiratory illness (with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath), all symptomatic health care workers, all symptomatic contacts of those whose laboratory tests —…

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#VIPCulture: VIP Passengers walk out of Srinagar Airport without Covid-19 Screening

Two Kashmiri students returning from Bangladesh walked out of the Srinagar International Airport on Thursday morning without undergoing the mandatory screening for the Covid-19 infection, courtesy their ‘influential parents’. According to reports, two female MBBS students enrolled at Dhaka Medical College arrived with 30 other students at the Srinagar International Airport in an early morning Indigo flight from Kolkata. All the students were kept at the arrival lounge with 250 other travelers who had flown in from different parts of the country. “While we were speculating administration’s next move, an…

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Panic buying across Kashmir, as valley heading towards another virtual shutdown

A day after a woman tested positive for coronavirus, Kashmir valley was headed towards a virtual lockdown on Thursday as restrictions were imposed on the movement of people in several parts and all public transport banned in Srinagar city. The area within 300 metres radius of the house of the 67-year-old COVID-19 patient in Khanyar locality has been sealed off and officials of the Health Department are going house to house to check if any of her neighbours have symptoms of the disease, officials said. Security forces have been deployed…

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