Srinagar: “There have been multiple, concerted attempts in the last two days to connect SMC and my office with the case of an unauthorised arrival and subsequent alleged concealment of travel history by an individual in Srinagar.
The brother of the said individual who has been tested positive for COVID subsequently – happens to be an elected Corporator at the Srinagar Municipal Corporation.
The Police has registered a case under relevant statutes of law in this instance and I am sure the law will take its course and furnish the truth so that justice can be done.
I want to hereby put it on record that at no time was I even aware of the fact that the said Corporator has a brother to begin with. I wasn’t at any point of time – aware of his reported unauthorised travel or arrival in Srinagar. This is evidenced by the fact that the particular Corporator visited my office after the arrival of his brother. Had I been aware of his brother’s arrival on the 26th of April and subsequent administrative quarantine on the 28th of April, I wouldn’t have endangered my own safety and health by allowing any proximity with his primary contacts. That’s basic common sense and should be enough to discredit the baseless allegations against me.
As soon as I was informed about this case, I passed instructions for immediate isolation and home quarantine of a number of SMC Corporators and officials including myself. I have been in strict self-isolation and home-quarantine ever since and continue to supervise SMC operations and initiatives from my residence – while continuing to insist that all possible precautions should be taken within the SMC.
I have left no stone unturned to do my best and be at the frontlines of the COVID battle in Srinagar along with my Deputy Mayor, SMC colleagues, ground teams and officials. I am proud of how SMC has gone above and beyond the call of duty to serve Srinagar in these trying circumstances. The evolution of SMC and its emergence as a scientific force in the face of adversity is something all of us are immensely proud of.
However, politically motivated, disappointing and ulterior attempts to connect SMC or my office with this particular case are distasteful and unfortunate. Politics can wait and can be resumed after the Pandemic is over. Those who are trying so hard to engineer an elaborate conspiracy in this case – I wish them better mental health and hope they realise how their mischief mongering could possibly impede efforts required to fight against COVID.
Four SMC Corporators at the expected encouragement and incitement of a certain mischief monger have uploaded videos on social media alleging that I “facilitated” the unauthorised entry of the particular positive case into Srinagar. Under my instructions, my lawyers are under the process of filing criminal defamation cases against all four individuals today. Their lies and attempted propaganda constitutes to be a criminal offence and they shall be made answerable to the court of law for their baseless and motivated allegations.
Like a lot of fellow Srinagarites and people from surrounding districts a number of my close relatives are stuck outside the State due to the lockdown. I have and continue to encourage them to stay put wherever they are and wait for the administration to allow their travel as per protocols and guidelines that have been established. I make the same fervent request to everyone.
A lot of efforts have gone into preventing a catastrophic situation from emerging in Srinagar till now. Our district administration, doctors, paramedics, police personnel, sanitation workers – all our front-line warriors – have worked way too hard in the last two months. Such instances of illicit travel and alleged concealment of travel undermines all those efforts and sacrifices being made by hundreds of thousands of people.
This is not a lockdown necessitated by a law-and-order situation but a lockdown that has been invoked for our collective survival. I request everyone to kindly adhere to it 100% as a mark of solidarity with our frontline workers and also as a mark of responsibility as conscious and conscientious citizens. Staying at home is by far the most powerful and potent preventive mechanism against this pandemic.
I hope we will all continue to cooperate with the administration without any lapses as this is a battle that we will have to win together.