The unit which is being taken as a base for prescribing most of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ (standard operating procedures) pertaining to the containment of virus spread is a district. However, this may not be the correct way or yardstick for enforcement of activities that are allowed or disallowed in any district.
Why? The size, topography, population density, number of cases reported etc are all variables which get neglected when we take district as a unit. As such, what may not be permissible in one district, or one area of a district, should in no way be applicable to another district, or area within a district.
Within the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, two main districts in the two regions are Jammu and Srinagar. Beyond the fact that both are districts, there is a lot of difference in Jammu and Srinagar.
Let us try to find out for ourselves what these differences are. Srinagar is spread over only 294 sq km and has a very high population density. In comparison, Jammu district is spread over 2,336 sq km and the population density is many times lesser.
Next, let us compare the number of cases in the two districts and we take the comprative figures compiled till Sunday evening. In Srinagar, there were 179 cases and the number of cases in Jammu was 78. This can also be expressed in another way.
In the Jammu district, there were 78 cases in an area of 2,336 sq km. This means that statistically speaking, each case was located in an average of 29.94 sq km of area (2,336/78= 29.94). In Srinagar district, each case was, statistically, to be found in an area of only 1.64 sq km (294/179= 1.64).
Compare the figures of 29.94 sq km and 1.64 sq km for these two districts. Why should then the norms or standard operating procedures (SOPs) be the same for Jammu and Srinagar districts? The point being made is that with due precautions, far more economic activities over far larger areas of Jammu district should be allowed as compared to Srinagar.
Let us now compare the two regions, or divisions of the UT of J&K. The Jammu division is spread over 26,293 sq km, and in all 10 districts, 261 cases were reported till Sunday evening. We can calculate the prevalence of cases by dividing the total area with total number of cases. This will mean 26,293/261= 100.73, meaning thereby that there is one case to be found in 100.73 sq km of area in the Jammu division, if they were distributed evenly.
The Kashmir division is spread over 15,948 sq km and it had reported a total of 1,360 cases in the corresponding period. This means that
by dividing the total area with total number of cases 15,948/1,361= 11.71, meaning thereby by each case would be located in an area of 11.71 sq km in Kashmir.
Now, we can draw comparison statistically between the two regions. We find that there is one case in an area of 100.73 sq km of area in Jammu region while as in Kashmir, one case each is to be found on every 11.71 sq km of the Kashmir division.
Given such a vast difference in statistics pertaining to them, why should the two regions be treated in the same manner? Even in the case of denial of 4G services to those located in the Jammu region, it seems totally unnecessary to impose restrictions in the Jammu region.
Security is supposedly the issue and basis for denial of 4G in JK. Why should the two divisions of the UT be treated differently here also? How many encounters have taken place in the Jammu region from January 1, 2020, to May 25, 2020? How many encounters have taken place in Kashmir during the same period?
What has be the number of cases of attacks on personnel of security forces in (a) Jammu (b) Kashmir? What has been the number of terrorist hideouts busted in (a) Jammu (b) Kashmir? Where are the similarities on these yardsticks?
It seems the Jammu region is being treated unfairly by clubbing it with Kashmir when denying facilities of 4G. In several other spheres too, most areas of the Jammu region are given the same treatment as those located in Kashmir. They are dissimilar and must be treated differently.
By treating them alike, the government only appears to be strengthening the argument that Jammu must be separated from Kashmir. Just as Ladakh was carved out as a separate UT, so should Jammu be severed from Kashmir.
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