The current pandemic sweeping the world, named as the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
This pandemic has already brought the whole world on its knees currently by affecting all aspects of our life as we know it.
It has already crippled our social relationships, jobs, religious life, education and travel with long lasting negative outcomes at least in the near future.
However, at the same time, we must acknowledge that the whole of humanity has come together to counter this common enemy swiftly and most competently.
Our political, religious and medical leaders as well as the public have indeed cooperated together acting on advice based on scientific knowledge, robust data and collective experience in dealing with this disease.
It is also important to note that religious communities have not looked into their scriptures and sought advice from their religious leaders in fighting this pandemic, but relied on information from government authorities with medical advice.
Again Muslims generally have listened not to their traditional so called Sheikhs or Ulama and relying on their fatwa in combating the virus, but the real Ulama, the most competent people with knowledge in this field, doctors, scientists, researchers and data analysts and administrative authorities.
From China to Americas, Australia, Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa, the authorities have taken unprecedented swift action based on competent advice for testing, lockdowns, travel restrictions and treatment of those suffering from the disease.
Surely, there have been slip ups here and there by Trump, Modi and our own ScoMo, but over all the performance of our political leaders has been so far so good hopefully with desired positive results in dealing with this crisis.
We the public have also cooperated well in following advice on lockdowns, social distancing and remote study, work and even play adopting to a changed lifestyle.
The internet and digital connection is indeed playing a big role in coping and even combating against coronavirus where we can still function from our homes.
Reflecting on lockdowns, now that we are ourselves in this state, we must empathise with the people of Kashmir who have been in this lockdown state since 5 August 2019 under ruthless military oppression and without the benefit of remote communication via telephone and internet.
“If anyone wants tips on surviving quarantine or a lockdown, I have months of experience at my disposal,” said former chief minister Omar Abdullah after being released from eight months of detention without trial on 24 March.
BJP government introduced one of the world’s longest-running internet shutdowns in Kashmir in August last year, only restoring limited 2G mobile internet service in January this year.
Despite pleas from several rights groups to completely ease restrictions specially during this COVID-19 pandemic, the government has refused to budge.
Dr Suhail Naik, President of the doctors’ association remarked that education drives seen elsewhere in India about the symptoms of the virus are impossible to run in Kashmir valley.
“We want to educate people through videos, which is not possible at 2G speed. We are handicapped in the absence of high-speed internet,” he said.
Kashmiris, just like Gazans should be given a chance to fight COVID-19 just like people in other parts of the world.