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Thousands of fish wash ashore in Kashmir’s Jhelum, trigger rumours of poisoning

Thousands of fish wash ashore in Kashmir’s Jhelum, trigger rumours of poisoning
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Kashmir’s fisheries department dismissed rumours of poisoning, saying low oxygen levels, due to pollution, lesser rains and artificial barrier had affected one specie of fish.

Thousands of fish washed ashore onto the banks of Jhelum river in Kashmir on Sunday, alarming people and triggering rumours of poisoning.

Sensing escalation of trouble, the district administration immediately issued a statement urging people “not to panic”.

“We have taken water samples as well as the samples of fish. Most of the fish washed up ashore are not dead, suggesting that the oxygen content of the river water is low,” deputy commissioner, Srinagar, Syed Abid Rashid Shah said.

The incident comes amid the chaos across the Valley due to rising incidents of braid-chopping of women.

The fish — mostly Kashmir’s indigenous specie Schizothorax or Kashir gaed — floated on a 2.5 km stretch of Jhelum in the old city area of Srinagar, prompting people to crowd the banks to watch the unusual phenomenon.

Many locals were seen catching the fish by hand and taking them home. Officials said that even police had to intervene in certain cases to stop people from assembling.

“The fish were alive but very docile. Some people took them home to cook. Many seemed very fearful,” said a local of Chattabal.

The phenomenon, however, triggered more rumours, with some mosques announcing that the fish washed ashore due to poisoning.

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