At a time when India was looking to flatten the curve of the Corona virus spread, the illegal congregation of Tablighi Jamaat in Delhi proved to be a grievous body wound, increasing the rate of infection manifold in one go. Naturally, people are angry about the irresponsible and dangerous behavior of the Jamaat members. There are some questions in the minds of the people on this issue.
- What specific actions are being taken against these people for holding illegal congregation?
- Considering that many of the contacts related to the Jamaat group are reportedly demonstrating violent resistance to admitting themselves to health facilities, is the isolation process progressing at all?
- Was the government of the day unaware of Tablighi Jamaat’s activities? Did this Corona lockdown alone bring them to the notice of the authorities?
Let’s find the answers one by one.
Action Against Tablighi Jamaat
With regards to this particular congregation of Tablighi Jamaat that took place in Delhi amidst lockdown, the Ministry of Home Affairs stated that 960 foreign nationals have been blacklisted and their Visas have been revoked.
गृह मंत्रालय द्वारा पर्यटक वीजा पर तब्लीगी गतिविधियों में लिप्त पाए जाने के कारण 960 विदेशियों को ब्लैक लिस्ट किया गया है और साथ ही उनका भारतीय वीजा भी रद्द कर दिया गया है।
— गृहमंत्री कार्यालय, HMO India (@HMOIndia) April 2, 2020
Tracking and Quarantine
As on 1 April 2020, 1,800 people who were related to this Tablighi Jamaat markaz in Nizamuddin area in Delhi have been sent to nine hospitals and quarantine facilities.
On March 28, State Police across the country were advised to collect the names of Indian Tablighi Jamaat workers from the local coordinators, locate them on the ground, get them medically screened and quarantine them. By March 31, about 2,137 such persons had been identified in different States. They are being medically examined and quarantined. This process is still on, and many more people will eventually get identified and located. On March 28, MHA also issued a detailed advisory to Chief Secretaries and DGPs of all States, as well as CP Delhi, on this issue.
Be it Tablighi Jamaat or any other who obstruct the screening and other measures of the authorities, action can be taken to task by the state law enforcement agencies under the relevant sections of Disaster Management Act, 2005 which is in force now.
Many states have acted swiftly in isolating the people related with Tablighi Jamaat event.
391 persons who visited Markaz Nizamuddin have been traced and quarantined. 11 out of 91 persons who were tested in Bidar are COVID19 positive: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa pic.twitter.com/Jz6BNT1ehQ
— The Times of India (@timesofindia) April 2, 2020
Were We Clueless About Tablighi Jamaat Before?
The assumption that the pervasiveness of Tablighi Jamaat in India came to the notice of the authorities only after the recent event is factually wrong.
This report from Hindustan Times, quoting the officials in the Ministry of Home Affairs says that India has put 4,200 foreigners on visa blacklist for Tablighi activities in the last four years.
The report said,
“According to North Block officials, Tablighi followers from abroad attract the immigration blacklist if they are found preaching or proselytizing in India. It is not a violation to merely listen to sermons from the Jamaat leadership, one official clarified.”