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‘This is About Humanity’: Kashmir Family Opens up Home to Mumbai Tourists Stuck in Lockdown

Pampore: A Pampore family in Kashmir’s Pulwama, known for its saffron production, has been looking after a mother-son duo from Mumbai who have been stuck here for over a month.

Even as people are shunning contact because of the virus, Nazir Ahmad Sheikh of Patalbagh in Pampore, has welcomed the two into his house after they got stranded in Kashmir due to the lockdown.

Nazir’s hospitality is well known in the area. The correspondents are led to his house by eager neighbours.

Wearing a red traditional Kashmiri frock salwar, Khatija Sheikh, a 50-year-old from Malad in Mumbai, sat with her son, speaking in the Kashmiri they had picked up. Neighbours drop by to ask how they are.

The two families sit and meet neighbours. Photo: Wasim Nabi and Musaib Mehraj

The duo had arrived in the valley last month as tourists, but got stuck as the pandemic spread across the country and Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a lockdown on March 24, leaving them high and dry.

Javid Rashid Sheikh, 30, Khatija’s son, runs his own business. He has, in the past, helped with sponsorships for the IPL team, Chennai Super Kings. He had visited Kashmir before and decided to bring his mother this time.

Javid feels the lockdown was a correct decision but the way it happened left many tourists and travellers stuck. “We were among them, and didn’t know where to go. We were screened at Jawahar Tunnel, our tests were repeated after 14 days and fortunately the reports were negative.”

Once the tests were done, non-locals were asked to leave or quarantine themselves. The Mumbai duo had nowhere to go and the few people they knew in Kashmir where far away. Nazir offered to take them to his house.


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