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‘We felt humanity is dead’: Suspected COVID positive man dies after abandoned by family, neighbours in Jammu’s Doda

Volunteers of Ababeel carrying the man down the pass - KM/Special Arrangement

Srinagar: Chenab valley has slipped into a shock after a 65-year-old man, suspected to be COVID positive, died in a hospital days after he was abandoned by his family and neighbors in remote Kashtigarh village of Doda district.

The man identified as Harmail Singh was lying unattended in a ramshackle shed for five days. It was after ‘Ababeel’ volunteers received a call that he was shifted to Government Medical College, Doda for treatment. Despite doctors’ best efforts, he could not be saved and succumbed on Monday night.


“We got a call on our helpline number that a man is lying in the Kashtigarh area of Doda. Our volunteers immediately rushed to the spot. He was stinking and the odor was spreading in the vicinity. We got him admitted to the GMC hospital,” said Syed Imran of Ababeel.

Volunteers had to walk 45 minutes through mountainous passes to bring down Harmail to the nearest motorable road where an Oxygen fitted ambulance was parked to shift him to hospital. 

Volunteers of Ababeel carrying the man down the pass – KM/Special Arrangement

“He had not eaten anything for five days. His mouth was open and he was gasping for breath. He was lying abandoned in a shed that had no roof. He was in a pathetic condition,” said Advocate Amir Mughal, volunteer at Ababeel.

What shocked the volunteers was that none of the residents had tended to man for the last several days. “He was very critical. We inquired why he was not shifted to the hospital when he was so critical. We were told people dragged their feet. When his situation deteriorated, some people called Ababeel for help,” said Amir.

KM/Special Arrangement

Since the terrain was treacherous, the volunteers appealed to the locals for help. “We provided PPE kits to two local youth and encouraged them to help,” he said.

Amir said they were shocked to see how people were staying away from him. “We felt humanity is dead. The way people were fleeing. I  told one of the locals that he is also human. We are also human beings. It is not that we will not catch the infection. We too are prone to the virus. It was a heart-wrenching scene. This man was working somewhere in Katra. He had returned home recently. He has some family issues as well,” he said.