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Price of J&K shutdown: It took Twitter, neighbour & DC for wife to know of husband’s death

Nazir Lone, a surgeon in Riyadh, passed away of a cardiac arrest alone in a Delhi hotel Tuesday, 2 days after the communication blackout in Jammu & Kashmir.

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New Delhi: It took anxious hotel staff in Delhi, a clueless hospital, several social media posts, a deputy commissioner’s help and a local tehsildar to inform a Kashmiri wife about her husband’s death in New Delhi.

Only two days after the Modi government imposed Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) in Srinagar and cut off all modes of communication, including landline services in the region Sunday night, Nazir Lone, 57, passed away of a cardiac arrest in a Delhi hotel Tuesday.

On his way back from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he worked as a surgeon in a hospital, Lone had a stopover in Delhi before his scheduled flight the next day to visit his family in Srinagar for Eid.

“I am sure he was thrilled to be home for Eid, especially because he gets to come home for vacations very rarely,” Sajad Lone, Nazir’s nephew, told ThePrint.

But Tuesday night, Nazir suffered a heart attack when he was staying at Hotel Shanti Palace in Mahipalpur. The hotel staff rushed him to the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre nearby but he was declared brought dead. Neither the hotel staff nor the hospital knew what to do and whom to inform about a lone 57-year-old man, evidently from Kashmir, as his passport would tell them.

Also read: Terrified, worried & restless, Kashmiris struggle to connect with families back home

The social media cry for help

For the Lone family, the first break came in the form of another hotel guest, who took to Instagram to post about the demise of a man from Rawalpora in Srinagar whom “no one seems to know”.

It caught the attention of Saima Hussain, a Kashmiri student in Delhi who instantly recognised the name as that of the “uncle” who used to be her neighbour back in Srinagar.

Unable to connect with anyone in Srinagar owing to the communication blackout, Hussain decided to take to Twitter. “Any journalist in #kashmir right whose internet is working? It’s urgent. My neighbour has passed away in Delhi and his family doesn’t know,” she tweeted Wednesday.

Among those to take cognisance was Srinagar Deputy Commissioner Shahid Choudhary.

Choudhary, a 2008 batch IAS officer of the Jammu and Kashmir cadre, is known to be highly accessible and responsive on social media. He chanced upon Hussain’s tweet after several retweets.

Once the Srinagar administration was aware of the events in Delhi, Choudhary summoned the local tehsildar and tasked him with informing Nazir’s wife of his death.

An administration in overdrive

Hussain told ThePrint that Choudhary got in touch with her and offered to apprise Nazir’s wife of his death.

“If it wasn’t for Shahid Choudhary, perhaps Nazir uncle’s wife would have gotten to know of his death very late, if at all,” Hussain told ThePrint.

Choudhary said he sent a tehsildar to Nazir’s home in Hamza colony in Rawalpora, Srinagar, to deliver the news.

“The tehsildar was sent to the residence of the deceased and we got them connected to New Delhi,” Choudhary told ThePrint. “There the formalities were completed and movement of the family was facilitated.”

‘Situation would have been different if no blackout’

Within an hour or so of being informed of her husband’s death, Naseema Lone flew to New Delhi with her brother. By this time, however, it was late Wednesday afternoon.

“She was in a lot of shock and extremely emotional when she saw her husband’s body in the morgue,” said Sajad, Nazir’s nephew who was in Delhi at the time. He too found about his uncle’s death through social media.

Sajad said that the situation would have panned out very differently if the total shutdown wasn’t in place. “My uncle’s body lay unclaimed for at least 12 hours,” Sajad said. “Had there been no communication blackout, most of our relatives would have flown to Delhi at night itself.”

Also read: ‘Property in Kashmir’ is the social media buzzword after govt move on Article 370


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  1. ‘Situation would have been different if no blackout’ Of course you are absolutely right. The news of a NATURAL death in Delhi would have reached Kashmir much faster and also there would have been risk of tens if not hundreds UNNATURAL deaths in Kashmir. In voicing concern for the former, do you prefer the later to happen?

  2. considering the fact he passed away in a hotel, the officials did their best , the family came to know within 2 days.
    The blackout prevented many casualties that could have happened due to violence in the valley. The moment could have been exploited by islamic elements looking for violence to bolster their narrative.

  3. So u want us all to feel sad. Right. Not when u , your family and friend rejoiced killing Hindus and felt good about it.
    After all they were Kafirs. Shame on u and your like.Go get a life. Sick of your hypocrisy.

  4. Heart breaking and shocking . Still can not believe .

    Really we lost our best surgeon in our hospital in Saudi Arabia . Definitely he was in bad situation, very anxious , worrying about his family .

    Rip Dr . Nazir Lone

  5. So passports don’t have all address details. ?
    Did the person not have a mobile no on hotel check in records?
    Doesn’t the flight booking need a contact no?

    If there was no preventive blackout and there was law and order issue then these sames journos would be yelling from roof top how bad BJP is.

  6. Why so much melodrama!

    You should blame Burhan Wani wearing Koranic verses on the forehead brandishing machine gun and calling for Islamic State for this situation. Don’t blame Indian government.

    Hopefully peace will be restored soon, people in the valley have normal life. Sympathies and wish all of you the best.

  7. Also in such incidents, Delhi police can contact local police in Kashmir based on his address and reach his factory instead of going around instagram and NDTV to create a news.

  8. Someone doesn’t write proper address and hotel staff have no clue about except his passport, the best part is telling the police to identify the relative. This normal if an event happens which is unexpected, resulting his death. Even if there is normalcy it take few days get the near one connected. I was in Belgium few years ago and someone passed away. Suddenly a police officer knocked my door to come and identify someone who was also Indian. As I told them about my ignorance of this man, even after informing Indian embassy it took full two days identify his residence in Karnataka. His passport had his permanent Kolkatta address and since he moved to Banfalore and the address was temporary. Inspite of posting in Instagram and WhatsApp, it took two full days. His iPhone could not be opened to know more about man. At that time there was curfew or lockdown in Bangalore. One need not write a story of an unfortunate event and blow it up to link article 370.

  9. Our respects to Shri Shahid Choudhary and condolences to the bereaved family. It is this Insaaniyat that will help people retain their sanity.

  10. Wouldn’t it be a good idea if your rag also publish the plight of Kashmiri Pandits who’ve been languishing for the last 30 years ???

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