Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Wednesday launched a scathing attack on Tablighi Jamaat for the religious gathering in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area for two weeks defying government restrictions and guidelines amid the outbreak of novel coronavirus across the world. Naqvi equated the event to a "Talibani crime" and said it could not be pardoned.
"It is a Talibani crime by Tablighi Jamaat, such criminal act cannot be forgiven. They have put the lives of many people in danger," ANI quoted the Minority Affairs Minister as saying. He said that strict action should be taken against such people and organisations that defy government directions.
His remark comes amidst reports that Markaz Nizamuddin, the venue of the religious congregation from March 1 to 15, has emerged as a hotspot of coronavirus in the country. The religious event was attended by as many as 2,500 people including hundreds of foreigners. Markaz Nizamuddin is the international headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat for nearly 100 years.
The total number of coronavirus cases in Delhi has mounted to 120 after 24 positive cases being reported in the past 24 hours. All these 24 people took part in the religious congregation.
On Tuesday night, police booked the cleric who led the religious gathering for violating government orders on not organising public gatherings and maintaining social distance to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. The case, filed under the Epidemic Disease Act among other sections, will be investigated by the crime branch.
The event has sent alarm bells ringing across the country, forcing states to track those who attended the congregation. At least 8 of these attendees — six from Telangana and one each from Tamil Nadu and Delhi — have died of the virus. The states face a daunting task ahead as they try to trace as many as 2,500 people who attended the event. Many of them tested positive for COVID-19. With many of these people untraceable and having dispersed to different parts of the country, the magnitude of the task becomes huge for state governments to act swiftly to control the spread and prevent the attendees to turn their locations into potential coronavirus clusters.
According to the Health Ministry, the country has reported nearly 1,400 Covid-19 positive cases and 34 deaths as of Wednesday morning.