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A deaf and dumb village in Kashmir

Jammu
Feb 08, 2007:

People in Dadkai Gandoh village of Indian administered Kashmir's mountainous district Doda are becoming victims of an incurable genetic disease, which renders them deaf and dumb.

At least 72 such cases have surfaced so far from the village and its adjoining areas. The figures are feared to rise in near future.

J&K Health Minister Mangat Ram Sharma Thursday told the state's Legislative Assembly that all the 72 victims, which also includes newborn babies were deaf and dumb.

"The number may most probably increase as the newborn babies in the area also suffer the same disease," he said.

Located at a distance of 33 km from Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad's constituency Bhaderwah, more than 70 per cent population of the village are affected with flourosis.

Sharma said the matter was referred to the country's premier medical institute, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi, but expressed concern that no cure has been found to cure the disease.

National Conference's Gujjar community leader Mian Altaf Ahmed, alleged the government was ignoring the cases 'as they were reported in the nomadic community of Gujjars'.

Majority of the people of the village are afflicted with dental fluorosis, which causes yellowing of teeth followed by its decay and about 50 per cent of the population with skeletal flourosis which causes back pain, joint pain and weakening of skeletal bones.

Locals say that Dadkai Gandoh and its adjoining villages are supplied by water drawn directly from springs Tranikal Chasma, Bharat Nullah and Rai Chasma without deflouridation to reduce the high fluoride content.

The government today promised that a team of doctors would be deputed to the area to conduct a study afresh.

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