SRINAGAR: Two militants, including a Pakistani national, killed in a gunfight in the Arreh area of Kulgam district on Saturday, tested positive for coronavirus.
It is the first instance when militants have tested Covid positive in Jammu and Kashmir after the outbreak of the deadly pandemic.
“While carrying out the medico-legal formalities of the slain militants, samples were taken and sent for Covid test. Test reports were received from CD Hospital Srinagar and both the killed militants were confirmed as Covid positive,” a police spokesperson said.
The police spokesman said the bodies shall be buried strictly as per Covid-19 protocol at a graveyard in Baramulla in north Kashmir.
The two militants were identified as Ali Bhai alias Hyder from Pakistan and a local named Hilal Ahmad Malik. Three army men including a JCO were also injured in the firefight.
Dilbagh Singh, J&K DGP, had on April 23 warned that Pakistan was pushing militants infected with Covid into Kashmir to spread the virus in the Valley.
“Till now, Pakistan had been supporting militants and now it is exporting coronavirus patients to infect people of Kashmir. This is something on which there is a need to take precaution,” he had said.
After the outbreak of Covid pandemic in March, authorities are not handing over bodies of slain local militants to their families.
They are buried quietly in remote graveyards in Kupwara and Baramulla districts in north Kashmir and Sonamarg area of central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district.
The burial is carried out at designated places to ensure the safety of people from the inherent risk of contracting the Covid infection.
“The medico-legal formalities are strictly followed in respect of such killed militants, which includes post-mortem, DNA and Covid tests,” he said.