Congregation in the time of COVID-19: FIR against Tabligh-e-Jamaat, fears over Kerala participants

Covid-Nizamuddin
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The Delhi government has asked the police to file a case against the organisers of a Tabligh-e-Jamaat prayer congregation in Nizamuddin after 10 people, who attended a prayer congregation, died of COVID-19. As many as 24 participants were tested positive for coronavirus infection.

Hundreds from Kerala had also attended the event held at a Markaz in Nizamuddin area of New Delhi. One of them, M Salim, died of heart attack on Tuesday. Salim, a retired professor from Melevettippuram in Pathanamthitta district, had heart ailments. Following the reports of the coronavirus outbreak at the event, six people who had returned to Pathanamthitta have been quarantined, health department officials said.

Two people, who stayed with Salim, have been quarantined in Delhi.

Delhi Health Minister Satyender Jain said the event organisers committed a grave crime. He said the religious congregation, in which around 2000 people attended, was held at a time when no assembly of more than five people was allowed. “Disaster Act and Contagious Diseases Act were enforced in Delhi, Still they did this. I have written to the governor to take strict action against them. Delhi government has ordered to file a police case,” Satyender Jain said.

The minister said, "700 people who attended this congregation have been quarantined while around 335 people have been admitted to hospitals."

The police, as per reports, said they had issued a notice to the organisers after they came to know about the event.

Six people, who returned to Telangana after the event, have died from the virus and positive cases are emerging from at least five regions including J&K, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

The Telangana Chief Minister's Office said in a tweet, "Six people from Telangana who attended a religious congregation at a Markaz in Nizamuddin area of New Delhi from March 13-15 succumbed after they contracted coronavirus. Two died in Gandhi Hospital while one each died in Apollo Hospital, Global Hospital, Nizamabad and Gadwal."

The state has intensified its efforts to locate all those who returned from the event.

The suspected outbreak was discovered on Monday in Delhi as it emerged that several hid their travel history to foreign countries and a large congregation was held at a markaz in Nizamuddin. The area has been sealed and hundreds of those present were whisked away to hospitals.

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The Jawaharlal Nehru stadium which otherwise holds sporting events is being prepared for a possible large size quarantine centre in case there is a huge outbreak of the virus.

As many as 1,400 people continued to stay at the Tabligh-e-Jamaat's "Markaz" in Delhi's Nizamuddin West even after the event.

More than 2,000 delegates, including those from Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Kyrgyzstan, attended the congregation of Tabligh-e-Jamaat - a Muslim religious organisation - from March 1 to 15.

This constitutes a mammoth health risk for those present and others who may have come in contact or are even now coming into contact through transit.

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