Trail of COVID-19 infection carried far and wide by Kashmiri Tabligi victim

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By Sheikh Qayoom

Srinagar, April 1 (IANS) The chequered travel history of the first COVID-19 victim of J&K reads like a roller coaster ride of the dreaded virus travelling to places the authorities are now falling short of breath to re-visit in order to trace the route of coronavirus spread.

The 65-year old leader of J&K’s Tabligi group is reported to have stayed in Nicobar islands for nearly a month with his wife in December 2019.

After he returned to his home in Hyderpora locality of Srinagar city, he travelled to Delhi on March 7. He stayed at Nizamuddin mosque in Delhi till the evening of March 9.

He then went to Deoband along with six fellow Tabligis and stayed in the seminary till March 11. In the evening he took a train and reached Jammu.

On March 12 he travelled to Bari Brahmana area of Samba district where he attended a gathering of Tabligis where he was elected the Amir (chief) of the group’s J&K wing for a period of three months. He remained there till March 16 and the same day he travelled in a flight to Srinagar.

His co-passenger in this flight was Kashmir’s first COVID-19 positive patient.

During the next three days he presided at a Tabligi congregation in Sopore town attended by around 300 people. At this gathering, he is reported to have freely mingled with the people, shaking hands, hugging, eating food with them etc.

The family of the Tabligi leader originally hails from Sopore town from where they migrated to Srinagar. He returned home and on March 18 when he started showing symptoms of coronavirus infection. He was taken to a nearby hospital on March 21 where doctors prescribed some antibiotics and sent him home.

On March 22 he developed symptoms of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and was admitted to Srinagar’s chest diseases hospital where he tested positive and doctors put him on the life support system. He died on March 25.

He headed one group of Kashmiri Tabligis whose headquarters is in Bemina area of Srinagar.

Doctors fear the deceased Tabligi could have passed on the virus to dozens who in turn could have passed it on to hundreds in Kashmir.

Bad news is that the fears of doctors are proving right. Majority of 55 people who tested positive in J&K are local Tabligis or people who came into direct contact with them.A