Srinagar: Many in Srinagar, especially in the downtown, are treating the coronavirus lockdown as a normal curfew that ends when police and government forces withdraw in the evening. As a routine after 6pm, people move out of their houses and roam around or walk leisurely in their neighbourhood and sometimes engage in conversations on shop ledges.
Like in Srinagar’s Fateh Kadal, Saeed Abid Ahmad says people gather at shop fronts to discuss Covid-19, defeating the purpose of social distancing and of the lockdown. Police make announcements every morning and afternoon advising people to stay indoors, but that doesn’t stop people from moving around in the interiors during even the day time.
Similarly in Safa Kadal, residents normally begin roaming about as soon as government forces are withdrawn in evening. Youngsters as well as elders greet and meet each other, defying the lockdown. Nazir Ahmad, a resident of the area, complained that people are still not taking the situation seriously.
“In the last two weeks I have noticed how people are behaving. They come out of their homes after 5 or 6pm and are seen buying groceries, candies and whatever they find,” he said. People like him fear that if such social interactions do not stop, Covid-19 cases may surge further.
In Hawal neighbourhood, Iqra Shah says her area witnesses public movement every day after 5pm as people come out of their houses to hang around with friends and neighbours. “People think coronavirus goes to sleep after 5pm and wakes up after 7am, that’s why they come out of their houses in evenings,” she said.
A resident of Rainawari, Bilal Ahmad, however, has a different take. He says that being locked in since March 19 inside his home has depressed him, which is why he interacts with a small circle of friends. “We know none of us have this disease,” he said.