Wake up to looming danger

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On an average more than 500 cases of COVID-19 are detected and reported in Kashmir daily for the past several days.  As this data, mind it, is only about the reported cases, common sense would suggest that the situation is far worse than what it seems or appears. In fact it is because of this reason that the government has now announced night curfew in few districts. Here is must be pointed out that night curfew is not going to be of much held, at least not in the Valley district because here the night-life is otherwise also absent and there is not a culture of holding late night parties — not during this part of the year at least.

Nevertheless, the unfortunate reality is that the people here seem to have taken the situation way too lightly; they are not showing the kind of seriousness as is needed in order to save themselves and their dear ones from the deadly disease.  People are not heeding the official warnings as is evident from the increased rush of people on the roads and streets. Taking Srinagar city as a sample, it seems that the people here have as if made up their mind that they will continue on a suicidal path, risking not only their own lives but also of their families’, and others’ too. Continued appeals from the health professionals from across the world are simply falling on deaf ears.

Not only the ordinary people, but certain institutions including the banks and government offices too are openly showing their complete disregard for the advisories vis-a-vis the ongoing pandemic. For instance, throwing all caution to winds, hundreds of people throng the offices of Tehsildars and SDMs on designated dates for registration of property documents and other official matters. That physical distancing norms are not followed in these offices is indicative of the larger malaise afflicting this society in general. While the ordinary people are careless, the official callousness is also a big contributing factor to the overall mess.

See the irony: these very senior Revenue department officials – Tehsildars, SDMs, ADCs and DCs, et. al. –who are supposed to oversee implementation of the standard protocols and guidelines so as to minimize the incidence of infections, are allowing brazen violations to take place under their own proverbial noses, right inside their offices. Same is the sordid story inside the banks and hospitals and other places.

In hospitals too, doctors and paramedics and other support staff are ragged by huge rush of patients and their attendants. Doctors say more than 85 percent rush is of those people who have no urgency to see a doctor – “they come for routine check-ups which obviously could wait until the severity of pandemic is somewhat controlled!”

All these instances point to the general contempt people here have for their own, and others’ safety. In such a situation wouldn’t it then be wise to strictly enforce the COVID-appropriate behavior through force and coercion?

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