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Mask at doorstep for readers of Urdu daily in Kashmir as message to stay safe

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Mahtab Alam

NEW DELHI: Mask arrived at the doorstep for readers of Urdu daily newspaper in Srinagar on Tuesday, in a bid to create awareness regarding Coronavirus, as cases continue to rise in Jammu and Kashmir.

The aim was to send the message that people must understand the gravity of the situation and must not go out without wearing the mask. 

"We decided to take this symbolic step after seeing many locals without a mask," said Zahoor A Shora, editor of Roshni, speaking to me over the phone from Srinagar.

"Many people still think that Coronavirus is nothing but a hoax. What they are not realising is that by not wearing a mask, they aren't just risking their own lives, but also those of others around" he added. “Since now even asymptotic people are testing positive, it becomes all the more important to wear a mask,” added Shora. 

When asked whether this was just for one day or whether the newspaper would continue to distribute more of these in the days, Shora said that, “It is not financially viable for us to do it on a regular basis as even an ordinary mask costs more than the price of our newspaper.”

According to him, Roshni is priced at Rs. 2 and had to go through losses due to constant lockdowns since August last year. “In any case, the idea was to spread awarenesses, not distribute masks,” he added. He hoped that with this, people would realise the gravity of the situation and help each other to come out of it.

The daily also published an editorial note on the front page explaining the same and the responsibility of the different stakeholders, along with data related to the UTs. According to Srinagar based journalist Zahoor Hussain Bhat, this is an important gesture on the part of the newspaper as people in Kashmir were taking importance of wearing masks very lightly.

On Monday, Jammu and Kashmir recorded its highest single-day spike of 751 coronavirus cases. According to a news report by India Today, ten new deaths were also registered in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 254. There are now 6,122 active cases in the Union Territory, while 8,274 patients have recovered.

Officials said that Srinagar district recorded the highest 171 new cases on Monday. “While the numbers surge, experts believe that wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing are the strongest tools to save one from coronavirus,” the report added. Today's e-edition of the Urdu daily Roshni can be read here for free.