Budgam: Sitting with his family, Muhammad Sultan Rather had just finished his morning tea when he switched on his radio and heard the news that a famous faith healer in Budgam had turned Covid-19 positive. He had not imagined that this news will be bad news for him too.
Within minutes, he got a call from health officials for his immediate visit to a nearby hospital. The 62-year-old man had never thought of what was in store for him.
“Without waiting, I along with my son reached the hospital where officials informed me that they are taking me to the quarantine centre in Budgam immediately,” Sultan said in a murmured voice.
Diabetic, Sultan has to take 4-5 different medicines every day.
He, along with nine others from the same village, have been sent to the quarantine centre in Khanpora, Budgam. “I don’t know who has informed the authorities about my direct contact with the Covid-19 patient. Since day one of lockdown, my entire family is strictly following the orders of the government to stay indoors,” he said.
Sultan alleged that the family rivalry has resulted in him being sent to the quarantine centre.
“Some people who don’t have good terms with his family may be behind the mischief of misleading the officials,” he said.
“My father is a patient who has strictly followed the food and other directions from the doctors to control diabetes. From day one since the authorities announced the lockdown in Kashmir, he has not allowed even his family members to go outdoors,” said Sultan’s 30-year-old son.
The family alleged that they have informed the authorities about the matter but so far no action has been taken in this regard.
“We are requesting the concerned officials to take up the matter with higher authorities so that he may not get infected while he is in direct contact with the other patients in the centre,” said his family.
When contacted, Tehsildar Kanipora Shahbaz Ahmad Boda said he has received calls from the locals regarding the direct contact of Muhammad Sultan with the Covid-19 patient.
Asked about the claim of the family over his health and some family rivalry, Boda said he will take up the matter with the district administration and if he has been wrongly quarantined, the administration will set him free soon.
Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Budgam, Dr. Nasir Ahmad said there are a number of doctors in Khanpora quarantine centre who are taking care of patients. Upon being asked whether it could be a case of a personal rivalry which might have resulted in the authorities being misled, ADC Budgam said “why not? It can be, but we can’t take any risk to increase the number of Covid-19 cases in the district.”
Scores of other quarantined persons have also alleged the same issue of personal rivalry. “Our family of seven have also been sent to quarantine centre in Zakura, Srinagar last week when reports of a 10-year-old boy from Eidgah, Srinagar, Covid-19 emerged,” said another man who was reported to the authorities by an unknown caller.
The boy has no history of travel. He, however, had come in contact with a man who was earlier tested positive for Covid-19.
The men at the forefront are repeatedly requesting the general public to cooperate and report correct travel history or direct contact with the positive cases. On Monday, 25 new cases of Covid-19 in J&K, all from Kashmir Division were detected. The total number of positive cases stands at 270.
(Shamshad Ali is a journalist working with NewsX and can be contacted at [email protected])