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Doctors TAKEN HOSTAGE in Kashmir after attempt to screen man for Covid-19 goes awry

Doctors TAKEN HOSTAGE in Kashmir after attempt to screen man for Covid-19 goes awry
Three Indian police were injured after they were sent to rescue a group of doctors in Kashmir who were taken hostage by a villager’s family protesting against his being tested for coronavirus.

Instead of saving patients, doctors in Budgam district in the India-administered part of disputed Kashmir faced unexpected resistance from the family of a villager to be tested for coronavirus.

The incident began as the doctors arrived in the village of Sheikhpora on Saturday and approached the house where the person suspected of having coronavirus lived to make inquires.

However, they were treated to a rather less than a warm welcome, as the man’s family apparently took issue with their intention of taking their relative to the hospital for screening, locking the doctors up in their house instead.

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“As soon our members asked about the person who had travel history, his family members kept our whole medical team hostage in their house,” Kashmir News Observer (KNO) agency reported, citing hospital officials at SDH Chadoora.

With the villagers refusing to set them free, it quickly came to a showdown between the would-be patient’s family and police, who were called to the scene to rescue the group.

The angry villagers did not want to give in without a fight, pelting policemen with stones in a tense face-off that resulted in three officers being injured.

“A person was to be taken for screening but his family refused&kept the medical team hostage inside their house. Police party rushed to the village to rescue them but they were attacked with stones,” police said in a statement, as reported by ANI.

The standoff was eventually resolved with police freeing the captives. An investigation into the incident has been launched.

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At least 207 people have fallen ill with the coronavirus in the Indian-controlled part of the region, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare reported. Four of those infected died and six have recovered so far. Across India, 8,356 people have now tested positive as the total number of confirmed cases jumped by 909 on Sunday. A total of 273 patients succumbed to the disease, including 34 in the last 24 hours.

Gripped by the pandemic, which has so far shown almost no sign of abating, India has been living under complete lockdown since March 25. While the measure was initially set to expire on Tuesday, Delhi’s chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, indicated on Saturday that PM Narendra Modi decided to extend the lockdown beyond its original deadline.

“Today, India’s position is better than many developed countries because we started lockdown early. If it is stopped now, all gains would be lost,” Kejriwal tweeted, hailing the PM’s move as the “correct decision.”

Modi is expected to officially announce the extension, which will reportedly be for two weeks, in a televised address to the nation.

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