Centre asks all states to take action against Tablighi Jamaat attendees, organisers

Krishn Kaushik
Nearly 300 foreigners who attended Nizamuddin event may be blacklisted for violating visa conditions

Parts of Nizamuddin West were cordoned off after six new cases were traced to the area. (Express Photo by Anil Sharma)

With as many as 20 states scrambling to trace all those who attended a gathering at Markaz Nizamuddin, the headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat in New Delhi, the Centre Wednesday asked all state governments to initiate action against the foreigners who violated visa conditions and the organisers of the event.

Many participants of the congregation of the Tablighi Jamaat in mid-March tested positive for COVID-19, and thousands have since then spread to different parts of the country, including some foreign nationals. Nizamuddin, where the congregation took place, has become a national hotspot. At least 18 people present at the event tested positive in Delhi, 50 in Tamil Nadu and five have died in Telangana. The government is anticipating for these numbers to go up. At least 20 states are trying to find the people who had attended the congregation, which had approximately 4000 participants.

Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba asked all chief secretaries and police heads of the states to conduct “intensive contact tracing of Tablighi Jamaat participants", stating this has "increased the risk of containment efforts of COVID-19."

In a statement, the government asked the states to "complete the contact tracing process on a war footing”.

“It has been found that foreigners who had participated in the Tablighi Jamaat had violated visa conditions. The state(s) were asked to initiate action for violation of visa condition against the foreigners and the organisers of the event,” the statement mentioned.

Besides the Tablighi Jamaat issue, Gauba also asked the asked the states via video conference “to implement the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana within next week” which will include “large cash transfer to beneficiaries” and mentioned that it “should be organised in a staggered manner to ensure social distance”.

The government mentioned asked the states “to ensure intra-state movement of goods is allowed without any hindrance while maintaining social distance”, adding that manufacture of essential goods should continue and their supply chains should be maintained.