Launch intensive search operation for Tablighis: Chhattisgarh HC

Vikash Aiyappa

Bilaspur, Apr 10: The Chhattisgarh High Court has directed the state government to launch an "intensive search operation" to find 52 Tablighi Jamaat members who arrived in the state after attending a congregation held in Nizamuddin area of New Delhi last month.

A division bench of Justices Prashant Kumar Mishra and Gautam Bhaduri passed the direction while hearing Public Interest Litigations (PILs) related to the coronavirus pandemic through video conference.

Advocate General Satish Chandra Verma said this was the first time the high court heard a case through video conference amid the pandemic.

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"Goutam Khetrapal, counsel (for intervener), has raised issue concerning non-testing of all such persons who have returned to Chhattisgarh after attending the congregation of Tablighi Jamaat Markaz at Nizamuddin," the order said.

"Khetrapal has informed the court that out of 159 Tablighi Jamaat members who have returned to Chhattisgarh, only 107 persons have been tested, out of whom only 87 reports have been received, thus leaving 23 awaited test reports and 52 non-tested persons who may be the cause of COVID-19 spread in the state, if they are eventually found to be suffering from the infection," it said.

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"We direct the state government to initiate intensive search operation to locate 52 persons.. and forthwith obtain reports of 23 persons whose samples have been taken but reports are awaited," the HC said.

"For these 23 persons and remaining 52 persons, status report shall be submitted on the next date of hearing on April 13," the order said.

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