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7 BJP leaders test positive for Covid-19 in Jammu-Kashmir

Seven Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders from Jammu have tested positive for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the past five days even though the party’s headquarters in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) was shut last Saturday, for 10 days, as a precautionary measure against the contagion.

Also read: India again records over 78,000 new Covid-19 cases, tally crosses 3.76 million

BJP Member of Parliament (MP) Jugal Kishore; party vice-president Narinder Singh; general secretary Sunil Sharma; general secretary (organisation) Ashok Koul; former lawmaker Shakti Raj Parihar; general secretary Vibodh Gupta and Mahila Morcha president Sanjita Dogra have been found to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 that causes Covid-19.

Most of the BJP leaders are undergoing treatment at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana super speciality hospital at Kakryal in Jammu’s Reasi district.

Last Saturday, the BJP’s J&K unit had shut its headquarters at Trikuta Nagar in Jammu for 10 days as a precautionary measure after two of its leaders – Koul and Gupta — had tested Covid-19 positive.

“We have decided to close our headquarters for 10 days in compliance with Covid-19 protocol,” said a party spokesman.

Earlier, BJP’s Lok Sabha member Sharma, his wife and personal secretary had tested Covid-19 positive.

Koul and Gupta had returned from Srinagar recently after attending party meetings presided over by Ram Madhav, national general secretary, who was on a two-day tour to the Kashmir valley.

Ravinder Raina, the president of the BJP’s J&K unit, had also recently recovered from his viral infection that he had contracted during his visit to Kashmir following the killing of the party leader Waseem Bari, his brother and their father by terrorists.

Raina said the party headquarters in Jammu was decided to be closed for 10 days from last Saturday onwards because of the rapid spread of the contagion.

Uday Bhan Chib, president, Pradesh Youth Congress (PYC), J&K, took a swipe at the BJP leaders who are undergoing treatment at the super speciality hospital.

“BJP leaders are getting the best of healthcare facilities at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana super specialty hospital, where doctors in PPE (personal protective equipment) gears are singing songs for them. However, a common man is left to fend for his life in the Government Medical College Hospital (GMCH) in Jammu,” Chib alleged.

On Monday, the PYC activists had staged a protest outside the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana super specialty hospital, accusing the authorities of admitting only dignitaries and refusing treatment to common people.

“An old woman, who had been hospitalised at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana super specialty hospital for another ailment, was referred to GMCH, Jammu, after she had tested Covid-19 positive. Her family members were also slapped with a hefty bill by the hospital authorities,” Chib further alleged.

“I took up the matter with the hospital’s North Head, Colonel Bali and apprised him about the ill-treatment of an elderly woman patient,” he said.

Col Bali has assured Chib and other PYC activists that such an incident would not be repeated in future.

“Col Bali assured that the woman will be compensated by providing free treatment at the hospital. Besides, if any patient undergoing treatment in the hospital tests Covid-19 positive, the patient will be attended to and won’t be shifted to GMCH,” he added.

Chib also alleged that the hospital authorities had expressed their helplessness about admitting Covid-19 patients, who were not recommended by people in the higher echelons of power.

“They claimed to me that they were asked to admit only those patients, who had the approval from the chief secretary,” he further alleged.

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