The Srinagar administration on Tuesday set up concrete barricades around the red zones to isolate the population with presence of the COVID-19 positive cases, evoking sharp response from locals and experts.
Iron bars were erected on the main supply roads of the Natipora area, where two positive cases were reported till date, by the Srinagar Disaster Management Authority. “The barricading is part of the new containment plan of the government to restrain inward and outward movement of locals in designated red zones,” a senior official of the Deputy Commissioner’s office told The Hindu .
A Srinagar administration spokesman, however, clarified two to three entry and exit points had been kept open in all such zones for essential services. “Teams are stationed locally. Several instances of damage and removal of barricades during nights necessitated locking a few locations.”
District Magistrate, Kulgam, Showkat Aijaz Bhat, also ordered barricading of the Reshipora and the Naikpora areas. “It has become imperative to take stringent precautionary measures to break the chain of the infection,” he said.
The stringent and unprecedented measures in the Valley, which is showing a downward trend on reports of the cases of late, has evoked sharp reactions from locals and experts.
“The barricades leave no scope for fire or health emergency to be addressed. This will only lead to stigmatisation at large. Concertina wires are already present on roads and one fails to understand why they are not being used,” said Humayun Qaisar, former director of the All India Radio, Srinagar.
With the government promoting the garrisoning of the red zones, local volunteers have starting sealing areas in dozens of areas in Srinagar with tin, poles and metal barricades.
“Barricading is stopping nothing. This will only impede your way to reach hospitals in case of an emergency. The virus doesn’t live in another locality. It could be carried by anybody from any place. Maintaining social distance and staying home are the only remedies,” Dr. Arshad Hussian, Valley’s leading psychiatrist, said.