Srinagar, July 22, 2020 (PPI-OT): Panic grips occupied Kashmir after over 100 non-local labourers, who have been transported to the Kashmir Valley in the last one week, have tested positive for coronavirus. Deputy Commissioner Islamabad, K K Sidha, told media that they had collected 14,937 samples of non-local labourers as of July 21 noon among which 113 labourers had tested positive.
As per officials, majority of these infected labourers was working on brick kilns in Badgam district right after they reached Kashmir. Chief Medical Officer, Badgam, Dr Tajamul Hussain, said 71 labourers have tested positive in the district so far.
Non-local labourers testing positive is another challenge for Kashmir’s healthcare system which is already struggling by the recent surge in COVID-19 among the Valley populace. As per media reports, 60 to 70 buses carrying around 2,000 to 2,500 labourers have been arriving in Kashmir since July 14.
Grand Mufti of occupied Kashmir, Mufti Nasir-ul-Islam, has already expressed serious concern over the arrival of thousands of non-locals in Kashmir at a time when the territory is witnessing a surge in the positive cases of the infectious disease. “This is quite strange that over 10,000 non-local workers have arrived silently in Kashmir in times of pandemic crisis. They are arriving at a time when COVID-19 is at its peak and cases are showing a huge spike. When Srinagar is under tight lockdown so are other district headquarters, what was the need to bring in outside workforce that too in a huge number when pandemic is at its peak,” he said.
Majority of these labourers are from Bihar (27, 455 COVID-19 cases), Uttar Pradesh (nearly 50,000 cases), and Punjab (over 10,000 cases). The people of occupied Kashmir are of the view that India is deliberately transporting COVID-19 affected outsiders to spread the virus among the local population in the Kashmir Valley.
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