Coronavirus scare: Sports Minister inaugurates Khelo India Winter Games in Kashmir amid cancellation calls
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti's daughter, Iltija Mufti, has also criticised the administration for allowing the sports event in Kashmir.
Amid the coronavirus scare, Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju inaugurated the Khelo India's first Winter Games chapter in Jammu and Kashmir's Gulmarg town on Saturday. This comes amid calls from Srinagar Mayor Junaid Mattu seeking cancellation of the event. So far, India has reported 31 coronavirus positive cases.
#JammuAndKashmir: Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports @KirenRijiju inaugurates first-ever five-day Khelo India Winter Games at Gulmarg. #KheloIndiaInGulmarg @kheloindia pic.twitter.com/VfW5xoDqLi— All India Radio News (@airnewsalerts) March 7, 2020
The event will would continue till Wednesday. Around 800-900 sportspersons are taking part in different events at the ski-resort in north Kashmir's Baramulla district. But Mattu has called for cancellation of the event amid the virus scare.
In view of the #COVID2019 situation, I personally believe the ‘Khelo India’ sports event in Gulmarg should be cancelled. I have conveyed this to the administration as well as the Lieutenant Governor of J&K, Sh. G. C. Murmu. Precautions are vital.— Junaid Azim Mattu (@Junaid_Mattu) March 6, 2020
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti's daughter, Iltija Mufti, has also criticised the administration for allowing the sports event. Using her mother's Twitter handle, Iltija said:
At a time when Coronovirus has caused a global health crisis & EU - India summit deferred, J&K admin is organising a massive sports event in Gulmarg. Why should Kashmiris bear a staggering cost for showcasing ‘normalcy’? https://t.co/4qRhkL8dFm— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) March 6, 2020
A number of events related to Holi and Women's Day celebrations were cancelled while the UGC asked universities to avoid large gatherings as precautionary measures against coronavirus, as a man from Delhi tested positive on Friday, the 31st such case in the country.
The Mayor also said that the weekly flea market, locally called as 'Sunday Market', should also not be allowed this weekend.
I’m also of the FIRM opinion that we should not allow the Sunday Flea Market in Srinagar this weekend (for the nature of the weather, the source countries where the bulk merchandise is imported from AND the number of people who visit the market). Have conveyed this as well.— Junaid Azim Mattu (@Junaid_Mattu) March 6, 2020
He said common sense dictates that all congregations, including religious ones, should be avoided.
"If KSA (kingdom of Saudi Arabia) could stop Umrah visas and shut the Holy Kaaba for deep-cleaning/sterilization - how is disallowing Friday prayers controversial?" Mattu asked.