Several states on Wednesday continued to identify and trace people linked to a religious event held at the Nizamuddin Markaz in the national Capital last month, after dozens of them began testing positive for Covid-19 in parts of the country in recent days. As many as seven people – one from Kashmir and six from Telangana – died of Covid-19 in the days following the congregation.
The Centre has declared the Markaz a coronavirus hotspot, while the Delhi government and the police have evacuated 2,361 people from there. So far, 91 people, who were among the attendees at the programme or their contacts, have tested positive for the virus.
The highest number of positive cases, 50, was detected in Tamil Nadu, taking the total number of cases in the state to 124, PTI reported. Around 1,500 members from the state participated in the event, out of which 1,131 returned, and 515 have been identified, Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami said on Wednesday. The ones who were identified have been quarantined in Delhi.
However, the whereabouts of a section of people in the state who were present at the Markaz is not yet known, the chief minister added. “Others who took part in the meet should voluntarily get in touch with the authorities,” he said.
In Andhra Pradesh, 43 people who had attended the religious event tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday, the Chief Minister’s Office said. With this, the total number of positive cases in the state increased to 87.
In Maharashtra, as many as 60 people from Pune who visited the event were quarantined on Tuesday. District Collector Naval Kishore Ram said the total number of people from Pune who attended the event was over 130, but many of them were untraceable.
The Jaunpur administration in Uttar Pradesh has quarantined about 50 people who attended the religious congregation. Thirty-four Gautam Buddh Nagar residents, who have shown no symptoms of coronavirus yet, were also home quarantined as a precautionary measure because they attended the event.
Meanwhile, 24 foreign nationals who went to Lucknow after participating in the event at Nizamuddin Markaz were identified and admitted to the Balrampur Hospital, Lucknow Police Commissioner Sujit Pandey said. However, 18 residents of Lucknow who were also present at the event, have not yet returned to the city, he added.
In Jammu, ten people who participated in the congregation in Nizamuddin were identified by the Jammu and Kashmir Police on Wednesday and sent to a health centre to be quarantined, PTI reported on Wednesday. Out of these, nine are from Hyderabad. The men have been sent to a centre in Bhatindi on the outskirts of Jammu.
In Karnataka, a total of 200 people who attended the event last month have been quarantined, state health minister B Sriramulu said on Wednesday, according to ANI. Out of these, four are from Bengaluru and five were from Belagavi. A total of 342 people from the state reportedly attended the congregation, he added.
In Madhya Pradesh, all 107 people who were present at the religious event were identified and quarantined, PTI reported. “They have been put under quarantine and are being examined thoroughly,” Bhopal Collector Tarun Kumar Pithode said. “We are keeping a close watch on them. There is no reason to worry or panic,” he added.
In Uttarakhand, 26 people participated in the Tablighi Jamaat event, Director General of Police Ashok Kumar said. All of them are still in Delhi, he added. The police official said that 173 out of 713 people who attended jamaats at the mosque in Nizamuddin regularly in the last 28 days have also been put into quarantine.
Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on Wednesday said the government has identified six people from Puducherry and three others from nearby Karaikal who attended the religious congregation. “Their samples have been taken and sent for screening,” he said. “I appeal to all other people who had attended the meeting to come forward and identify themselves.”
In Kerala, the government has traced 22 people in Malappuram district who had attended the event in the Capital earlier this month. All of them were placed under home quarantine upon their return, Superintendent of Police Abdul Kareem said.
The Nizamuddin event
Earlier in the day, the Delhi Police 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 the congregation amid the coronavirus outbreak. The Delhi government had filed a case against the Markaz administration on Monday.
As Scroll.in 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. 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.
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In a statement on Tuesday, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs said workers of the Tablighi Jamaat, foreigners as well as Indians, conduct the group’s activities across India throughout the year. They first normally report at the group’s headquarters in Nizamuddin, and then go to different parts of the country.
This year so far, nearly 2,100 foreign visitors had come to India for Tablighi activities, and as on March 21, about 824 of them were conducting their activities in the country, the ministry said. The government claimed it had shared details of all these workers with the police in states on March 21 for the purpose of screening and quarantine after some Covid-19 cases were found among them in Telangana.
Additionally, there were about 1,746 persons staying in the mosque as on March 21, including 216 foreigners, the ministry said. Besides, about 2,137 Indian workers have been identified across the country who were conducting the group’s activities, and they are being medically examined and quarantined, the ministry said. The Centre has asked police in states to trace the movement of all such workers.