The Delhi Police on Tuesday registered a first information report against Tablighi Jamaat preacher Maulana Saad and others members of the outfit under Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, for organising a congregation at Nizamuddin West Markaz earlier this month amid the coronavirus outbreak, The Indian Express reported.

Several cases of Covid-19 in Delhi as well as in other states have been traced to the congregation, which thousands attended. As many as seven people – one from Kashmir and six from Telangana, died of Covid-19 in the days following the congregation. The Delhi government had filed a case against the Markaz administration on Monday.

The Delhi Police on Tuesday released a video of its warning to senior members of Markaz on March 23 asking them to evacuate the building and follow lockdown guidelines imposed in the national Capital, ANI reported. The police also wrote to the Delhi government seeking immediate action against some people, including 157 foreigners associated with the event, and presently staying at various mosques and other places in the national Capital.

The Centre has declared the Markaz a coronavirus hotspot, NDTV reported on Tuesday. So far, 91 people who were among the attendees at the programme and their contacts, have tested positive for the virus. The highest number, 50, was detected in Tamil Nadu.

The Centre on March 28 wrote to state governments saying that it received information that foreign delegates of the Tablighi Jamaat “are on tour of the Indian hinterland and are believed to be the carriers of Covid-19”. The ministry had asked the police from all states to locate, screen and quarantine these individuals.

Several states – Delhi, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Telangana, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh – are conducting a huge contact-tracing programmes. Over 300 people are under observation at different hospitals in Delhi. More than 1,200 members of Tablighi Jamaat have been quarantined.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday described the actions of the Markaz management in organising the event as a “highly irresponsible act”. Kejriwal said 441 people who attended the event have shown symptoms of coronavirus.

“The world over people are dying and at this time, when all religious places are deserted, they committed such a serious violation,” Kejriwal said in a press briefing. “How many people may have been harmed, the very thought scares me. I appeal to all religious leaders, whatever be one’s religion, one’s life is most precious.

As reported previously, thousands of Indians and hundreds of foreigners had attended the conference that took place on March 9 and 10 in the densely populated Nizamuddin area. Ten of the 17 confirmed cases in Tamil Nadu on March 30 were also of people who had participated in the congregation.

The conference was organised by the Tablighi Jamaat preachers at the Alami Markaz Banglewali Masjid in Delhi. An Islamic evangelical organisation, the Jamaat, an offshoot of the Deobandi movement, has its presence in several parts of India and countries in South Asia and South-East Asia.