SRINAGAR: In a first, two militants including a Pakistani national, who were killed in a gunfight with security forces in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Saturday, tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday.
“While carrying out the medico-legal formalities of the slain militants, their samples were taken and sent for COVID-19 test. Today, the test reports were received from CD Hospital Srinagar and both the killed militants were confirmed as coronavirus positive,” a police spokesperson said.
It is the first instance when militants have tested positive for coronavirus in Jammu and Kashmir after the outbreak of the virus.
Two militants, including a Pakistani national Ali Bhai alias Hyder and a local Hilal Ahmad Malik were killed in the encounter with troops in Kulgam on July 4.
The police spokesman said bodies of both deceased militants shall be carried through protective care ambulance and buried strictly as per COVID-19 protocol at a graveyard in Baramulla in north Kashmir.
Since the onset of the pandemic, instead of handing over bodies of local militants killed in encounters to their families, police have been burying the bodies quietly in remote graveyards in north Kashmir’s Kupwara, Baramulla district and Sonamarg area of central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district.
About two months back, DGP Dilbagh Singh had warned that Pakistani was trying to push in COVID-19 infected militants to Jammu and Kashmir.
The police spokesman said since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure the safety of people from inherent risk of contracting the infection, the burial of the deceased militants is carried out at designated places.
“The medico-legal formalities are strictly followed in respect of such killed militants, which includes post-mortem, DNA and COVID-19 tests,” he said.