Cycling home to meet sick dad, Rajouri man may shake admn’s quarantine plans

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By
Apr 05, 2020 06:45 AM IST

The UT administration is in a quandary over the arrival of a Rajouri resident from Mumbai, who is currently pedalling his way home to meet his ailing father.

Mohammad Arif plans to cycle home.(SOURCED)
Mohammad Arif plans to cycle home.(SOURCED)

Senior officials believe that coming from Maharashtra makes him a potential case of coronavirus and 14-day quarantine would be essential upon entry.

Mohammad Arif, who works as a security guard at Libra Tower in Mumbai’s Bandra West, left the city on Thursday with all but 600 for the gruelling journey on a decrepit bicycle he bought from a friend to meet his bedridden father. He said he decided to embark on the 2,100-km travel after he received a call about his dad’s ill health on Tuesday.

When asked about the probable course of action upon Arif’s arrival, deputy magistrates of Kathua – the gateway to J&K – and Rajouri, O P Bhagat and Mohammad Nazir Sheikh, cited the strict guidelines in place to check the community transmission of Covid-19.

Bhagat said, “When he reaches here, Arif will be quarantined for 14 days at Lakhanpur. Administratively speaking, there is no space for emotions. We pray for his father’s speedy recovery. God forbid he doesn’t make it, one life would be lost, but if Arif is infected, letting him go to Rajouri would prove fatal for several others. We are already in the community transmission stage and can’t take risk.”

Stressing the importance of quarantine, Bagat said, “Arif is coming from Maharashtra and that makes him a potential case. Even if we presume he was fine in Mumbai, he will be crossing Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab. If he contracts the infection in Punjab and reaches Lakhanpur, how would we know about his health status? Thus, he has to be quarantined for 14 days.”

Bhagat’s counterpart Sheikh said, “We are trying to locate him, but his phone is switched off. A police officer was sent to his home in Manjakote area on Friday. The medical reports of his father, who suffered brain stroke, are awaited.”

Seconding that Arif should not be allowed to enter the UT without quarantine, Sheikh added, “We will take up the matter with the Kathua administration and the higher authorities. But even if he is allowed to head to Rajouri, he will first be quarantined here for 14 days,” said Sheikh.

Meanwhile, a senior bureaucrat in the administration opined that the case should be handled with sensitivity. “We will try to send him till Rajouri (from Lakhanpur) if things are in control. He can be quarantined in Rajouri. This is a sensitive issue and should be dealt with care. We will take a call on his arrival,” he said.

Citing the intricacy of the situation, the senior official said, “We don’t want anyone to be stopped, but the current situation demands so. Thousands of persons have been stopped for isolation at Lakhanpur. Any deviation in the policy will force us to allow everyone and that would be a breach of the lockdown,” he said.


    A principal correspondent, Ravi Krishnan Khajuria is the bureau chief at Jammu. He covers politics, defence, crime, health and civic issues for Jammu city.

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