The Pandemic Has Become All Pervasive

Mrinal Pathak

From the iconic Tulip Garden in Srinagar to stranded football players in the Valley, the novel coronavirus has cast its shadow on every aspect of life in Kashmir today.

The season of multiple festivities got marred by the fear of the spread of this deadly virus. People are locked inside their homes, prioritizing health over festivities.

Amidst all this, the government of the Union Territory of J&K has acquired headlines from various media houses for halting the 150-year-old practice.

Here’s a quick news wrap by Kashmir Observer:

No ‘Darbar Move’

With the recent government directive, the 150-year-old Darbar Move got swayed away. The decision of the government has created an uninvited rift between the two capitals.

For decades, both Jammu and Srinagar held equal relevance in governance of J&K. The administrative powers were divided in perfect proportion between the two capitals.

But, the decision by government to sit at two different places separated by around 300 km has given birth to a new controversy.

The decision may lead to many hindrances in the free flow of administrative work as most of the employees are based in Kashmir, and the government has directed not to move the files and systems from the Jammu secretariat to the Srinagar secretariat.

“The order of two functioning secretariats will just create confusion because no one will know which secretariat to approach to get their work done,” former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted.

“It would be better to withdraw this order and just delay the move of offices till the #Covid-19 threat has passed.”

Earlier, Srinagar used to be the summer capital, whereas, Jammu remained the winter capital.

Walk to Freedom

In a move to decongest various jails across J&K amid COVID-19 scare, the authorities have decided to release 65 prisoners from jails.

Among the liberated prisoners, 22 were facing the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA).

Director General Prisons (DGP) informed the division bench of J&K High Court about this decision through a written report.

The bench comprised of Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) through video conferencing regarding the spread of Covid-19.

The DGP informed the court that 22 Public Safety Act detenues, 32 undertrials, nine under trial prisoners falling under section 107,109,151 of the CrPC have been released.

The sanction for parole has been granted to 19 other prisoners. Two prisoners are already on parole.

The news has finally brought some smiles to the families of these prisoners.

Quarantined Festivity

The Sikh community in J&K will not celebrate the popular harvesting festival called Baisakhi due to the Covid-19 scare.

The Akal Takht appealed to the members of the Sikh community living in different parts of the world, to celebrate Baisakhi at their homes in the wake of the current pandemic.

Various district Gurudwara Prabandhak Committees announced the decision after holding discussions with the Akal Takht.

Various Sikh organisations in J&K said in a joint statement, “We will follow the appeal made by Jathedar Shri Akal Takht Sahib Amritsar and avoid any type of gathering on Baisakhi. We will perform the prayers at our homes while maintaining the lockdown.”

It is for the first time in decades that Baisakhi will not be celebrated with the same enthusiasm like before.

Guarded Garden

This year, amid Covid-19 scare, there will be no visitors for the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden situated on the banks of iconic Dal Lake in the heart of Srinagar.

The largest tulip Garden of Asia caters to over a million varieties of tulips. The mesmerising beauty of tulips is awe-striking for lakhs of tourists (both domestic and foreign) who come to visit the famed garden every March.

The garden was opened by former CM of the state and current leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad in 2007. It is home to different species of flora such as daffodils, roses, ranunculi, muscaria and many more enchanting beauties.

Stranded Sportsmen

10 foreign players stuck inside a hotel in Srinagar have picked up indoor, rather than their usual outdoor routine in the pandemic lockdown.

These stranded football players are resorting to playing video games and spending time in the hotel gym for pastime.

These players play for Real Kashmir Football Club which is a part of the prestigious I-League.

A few of them complained about slow internet connectivity and said that the boredom is taking a toll on their mental health.

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Mrinal Pathak

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