Srinagar, Mar 7: Coronavirus threat notwithstanding, Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to continue Khelo India’s first winter games at the ski resort of Gulmarg.
Around 800 to 900 sportspersons are taking part in different events. The event was inaugurated by union sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Saturday. It will continue till Wednesday.
“We have ensured that all the people visiting Gulmarg are properly screened. As off now there is no plan to stop the games,” said Baseer Ahmad Khan, divisional commissioner, Kashmir
Mayor SMC, Junaid Mattu has also requested the administration to avoid large gatherings given the coronavirus scare.
“In view of the COVID2019 situation, I personally believe the ‘Khelo India’ sports event in Gulmarg should be canceled,” Mayor SMC tweeted. “I have conveyed this to the administration as well as the Lieutenant Governor GC Murmu. Precautions are vital.”
An official at Gulmarg Development Authority said both local and foreigners are taking part in the winter games.
“Medicos present at the event are monitoring the situation and people are screened properly,” he said.
Doctors Association Kashmir, Suhail Nayak said human gatherings should be limited because the virus doesn’t transmit through food or water.
“We are of the opinion that these games should be suspended because people from outside Kashmir are going to participate and there are chances that this virus may spread. Gulmarg is a very cold place and the virus usually thrives in such an environment.”
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter, Iltija Mufti, too criticized the administration for allowing the sports event despite coronavirus threat.
“At a time when coronavirus (sic) has caused a global health crisis, J&K admin is organizing a massive sports event in Gulmarg. Why should Kashmiris bear a staggering cost for showcasing normalcy?” Iltija, who uses her mother’s verified Twitter handle, said.