In view of the prevailing health situation because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the District Magistrate Dr. Shahid Iqbal Choudhary has issued an order prohibiting all sorts of religious congregations and public movement on the occasion of Shab-e-Barat in Srinagar. The order issued under Section 144 of CrPC states that the decision to prohibit religious gatherings during the occasion has been taken based on recommendations of concerned authorities and reports from the field besides taking into account the current precarious health situation due to COVID-19 pandemic. It states that these restrictions will remain enforced through the intervening night of April 8 and April 9 adding that violations will attract strict action under Section 188 of the IPC and Section 51 of the Disaster Management Act.
The DM said that prohibitions on religious and other gatherings have become indispensable in view of the threat from coronavirus infection adding that these among other measures put in place in the district are aimed at containing its spread. Security forces have sealed off the main roads in the valley and erected barriers at several places to check the unwanted movement of the people and to enforce the lockdown. The markets across the valley were shut and public transport was off the roads with only pharmacies and groceries allowed to open.
Educational institutions across Kashmir have been closed, while all public places including gymnasiums, parks, clubs, and restaurants have been shut down more than a week before the nationwide lockdown announced by the Prime Minister. It is notable that restrictions on gatherings and public movement are enforced in the district since March 20- put in place as part of measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 after the first positive case was reported from the district. The total number of positive cases in Jammu and Kashmir has gone up to 125, while three patients have died. The authorities have started an aggressive contact tracing campaign across the union territory to contain the spread of the infection.