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J&K BJP chief Ravinder Raina tests positive for COVID-19

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Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir BJP chief Ravinder Raina on Tuesday said he has tested positive for COVID-19, following which several BJP leaders including Ram Madhav, Dr Jitendera Singh and Avinash Rai Khanna have gone into self-quarantine.

Raina and many other BJP leaders had visited north Kashmir’s Bandipora area to take part in last rites of former BJP district president Waseem Bari, his father and brother, who were killed by militants last week outside their home.

BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, Union Minister Jitendra Singh, Raina and other party leaders had also visited Bari’s residence on Sunday.

“I have tested positive for COVID-19. I had gone to Bandipora area of north Kashmir to take part in the last rites of slain BJP leader, his father and brother. I was there for the past five days,” Raina was quoted by PTI as saying.

Raina had undergone COVID-19 test on Monday which came positive.

At Bandipora, Raina had led the funeral procession along with party’s general secretary (Organisation) Ashok Kaul on July 11.

Meanwhile, Union minister Jitendra Singh and BJP general secretary Ram Madhav have gone into self-quarantine after Raina, who had accompanied them to the residence of a slain party leader, tested positive for coronavirus.

Singh, who is also a party MP from Udhampur, said he has gone into self-quarantine.

“Have gone into self-quarantine with immediate effect from 4 PM today, after receiving the news about corona positive test of J&K BJP President Ravinder Raina who had accompanied us from Srinagar to Bandipora on 12th July,” he tweeted.

Singh, Minister of State for Personnel, had visited the house of Waseem Bari. Singh, who is also a doctor, was accompanied by Raina, Madhav and other leaders during the visit to Bari’s residence.

Madhav also tweeted, “Am quarantining myself for a few days since my colleague and BJP J&K President Ravinder Raina tested positive for corona today and I was with him 48 hrs ago in Srinagar. I tested negative for corona 4 times during travel in last 2 weeks. Yet taking precautions to ensure safety of me and others.”

“I have also gone into self-quarantine,” another BJP leader incharge of J&K affairs, Avinash Rai Khanna was quoted as saying by a local news agency.

The news about Raina testing positive has triggered fear in the entire BJP unit of Kashmir. “I will also go for Covid test as I was with him these days in Bandipora and also in Srinagar,” said BJP spokesman for J&K Altaf Thakur. “For the time being, I have gone into self-quarantine.”

Sources in the BJP said that hundreds of party workers, middle-rung leaders, district presidents, zonal heads met Raina over the past five days in Srinagar and Bandipora district. “There is total chaos all around in BJP’s Kashmir unit,” local news agency KNO reported while quoting party sources.

Meanwhile, the party’s Kashmir unit has appealed to all the workers who came in contact with the BJP chief, to go for Covid testing.

A statement issued by the party’s media in-charge Manzoor Bhat said that all the workers who met BJP chief at Bandipora and Srinagar must come forward and conduct Covid tests.

A party source said that many leaders and workers met Raina without any protection, especially face masks and there is every possibility that they may have contracted the virus. “The party chief may become a super spreader for the virus within the BJP’s Kashmir chapter,” KNO quoted him as saying.