Please heed advise

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Until Wednesday evening, general population as well as the health officials in Kashmir were upbeat over the fact that there was no positive case of novel coronavirus in the Valley. But by the evening, this air of self-satisfaction was gone as one case had tested positive in Khayar locality of downtown Srinagar. So the situation has changed. Though officials have been urging people that they should not panic, and this suggestion is very valid, but it is also true that people also cannot afford to be careless and callous. Some degree of caution and lots of precautions are needed. However, unfortunately for some weird reasons, the people in general still appear to be somewhat unconcerned, and are not showing the kind of behavior that the emergent situation demands.

Government on its part is doing whatever is needed to keep the COVID-19 at bay, but the biggest worry is the people. It seems that they are yet to come in terms with the potential dangers this new virus poses. Like elsewhere, here too have access to all sorts of media, and are very much aware of the challenges posed by the coronavirus. They know it for sure that COVID-19 is wreaking havoc globally, tearing apart health systems, and economies. They know how vulnerable and helpless even the world’s most developed nations and economies are in the face of the corona challenge. Television sets in their kitchens, living-, drawing- and bed-rooms, and mobile telephones in their hands keep them posted on how this new disease is challenging everything that the human civilization would celebrate and boast about until few months back. They are also informed about the cautions and precautions that are being suggested by the experts to ward of potential and real threats posed by COVID-19.

In such a situation it is very disconcerting that the people here are not behaving the way they are expected and required to. For instance, huge crowds still gather at market-places throughout the Valley and none of them seems concerned about what it could entail. Similarly our mosques still attract big gatherings for congregational prayers even when such congregations have already been done away with in most of the Arab world, including Saudi Arabia, the fountainhead of Islam. Here Mutahida Majlis-e-Ulema could have easily drawn from the text, and Prophet’s (PBUH) times, or used the Arab example to ask people to offer prayers at home and not throng mosques for congregational prayers. But by their half-hearted appeal that people should offer ‘Sunnah’ and ‘Nawafil’ prayers at home and leave mosques immediately after ‘Farz’ (obligatory) prayers, this grouping has once again shown its lack of sensitivity and scientific temperament. In ordinary circumstances this absurdity could have been overlooked, but in current situation it is outright criminal!

It is high time that people of Kashmir understand the gravity of the challenge, and modify and reform their personal and collective behaviors accordingly. By heading the scientific advise, and cooperating with the government on this count, they will be serving not only the cause of their personal health and security but the entire humankind as well.


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