First coronavirus death in Jammu and Kashmir as 65-year-old preacher dies

Travelled from Andaman Nicobar to New Delhi to UP before returning to Kashmir

First coronavirus death in Jammu and Kashmir as 65-year-old preacher dies

Samaan Lateef

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, March 26

Jammu and Kashmir witnessed the first coronavirus death on Thursday as the 65-year-old man with a long travel history within India died on Thursday.

The deceased of Shah Anwar colony of Hyderpora locality in Srinagar died on Thursday morning at Chest Disease (CD) hospital, Srinagar, where he was admitted for the past four days.

"Unfortunately, we lost him this morning," said Dr Samia Rashid, Principal, Government Medical College Srinagar under which CD hospital works.

Doctors say the man had a medical history of illness with diabetes, hypertension and obesity. He was admitted to CD Hospital on March 22 and declared positive on March 24.

Four of his close aides were found positive on Wednesday after they met him at a mosque in Samba district where hundreds of followers of Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband in Uttar Pradesh had assembled between March 12 to 16 for a religious congregation.

The Deoband leadership has come under sharp criticism from the locals for not avoiding religious gatherings.

Many people compared the deceased preacher with south Korea’s ‘Patient 31’, who is a member of a fringe church called Shincheonji, and was called “super spreader” for infecting several thousand people.

Soon after the preacher was declared positive for CoVID-19, hundreds of followers of Deoband lined up outside hospitals in Kashmir for screening.

Even two doctors, who treated him at Sopore sub-district hospital on March 16, were admitted on Wednesday to Government Medical College Baramulla for CoVID-19 testing.

The long travel history of the Deobandi preacher in India has perplexed the doctors. 

He had travelled half of India from Andaman Nicobar to New Delhi to Uttar Pradesh before returning to Kashmir on March 16. He met thousands of people including foreigners at various religious congregations in India during his nearly three-month long travel.

Eleven persons had tested positive for the COVID-19 in Jammu and Kashmir.

With his death, the total number of such patients in the entire J&K is 10 including a woman who has recovered but is under observation.

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