As several delegates who attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Nizamuddin West area of New Delhi earlier this month continue to be tested positive for Covid-19, the 'markaz mayhem'—as many put it—threatens to derail India's fight against the global epidemic.
At a time when the entire country was emphasizing on the concept of social distancing, over 2,500 delegates had attended the gathering at the Banglewali Masjid and returned home to several parts of India earlier this month.
However, while around 1,500 went back, more than a 1,000 stayed back even when the event was over. Now, dozens of them have been found Covid-19 positive, thus creating a nationwide panic.
At the time of filing this report, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has confirmed that 1,548 people have been evacuated so far from Nizamuddin Markaz. Out of these, 1,107 have been quarantined, 441 symptomatic of COVID-19 and 24 cases so far have tested positive.
The Markaz has also issued a statement saying “the event was discontinued amid lockdown and visitors were stuck in Markaz premise.”
The developments triggered a huge debate as the Jamaat, which preaches Muslims to follow basic tenets of Islam, is being severely criticized for its irresponsible behavior which resulted in several deaths and put to risk the lives of millions of others.
It has now also put a huge question mark over the functioning of the Almi Markaz or Global Centre of the Tablighi Jamaat, which has millions of followers the world over. Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Kandhlawi founded it in 1926. His motto was 'Aye Musalmano, Musalman bano' (Muslims, become Muslims). The idea was to purge non- and pre-Islamic practices from the community.
Meanwhile Delhi Police today evening registered a case against Maulana Saad and others of Tablighi Jamaat u/s 3 of Epidemic Disease Act 1897 read with Section 269, 270, 271 and 120-B IPC for violation of government directions.
"These directions were given to the management of Markaz of Basti Nizamuddin regarding restriction of social/political/religious gathering and for taking safety measures, including social distancing for prevention and treatment of COVID-19 viral infection," tweeted Delhi Police..