A senior police officer from Madhya Pradesh said on Tuesday that 10 policemen who contracted the coronavirus in Bhopal probably got it from Tablighi Jamaat members, who were hiding in different mosques in the state capital, the Hindustan Times reported on Wednesday.

“There is a 99.99% chance that our policemen contracted the virus while conducting a search to locate those who attended the Tablighi Jamaat meeting in Delhi, in various mosques,” Inspector General of Police (Bhopal) Upendra Jain said. Of the 10 infected police personnel, eight are constables, one is a city superintendent of police and another is a sub-inspector. Five of their family members have also tested positive. Policemen who came in contact with the infected personnel are in self-quarantine.

Bhopal had recorded 86 cases of the virus till Tuesday. “Police personnel of mainly two police stations in Bhopal – Jehangirabad and Aishbagh – were involved in the search,” Jain said. “Many of them stay in the residential colony on TT Nagar police station premises.”

The police officer said the force traced 32 jamaats, including seven foreign jamaats in Bhopal. As many as 12 of these jamaats had attended the Nizamuddin Markaz congregation in New Delhi last month, the original source of the mass infections. At least 20 Tablighi Jamaat members in Bhopal have tested positive for Covid-19.

Jain said all police stations in the city are being sanitised, and around 1,000 police personnel will stay in hotels. “They will follow all the norms of social distancing while performing their duties,” he said. “I hope these measures will be effective in controlling spread of the virus in the next few days.”

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan warned the Tablighi Jamaat that criminal cases will be filed against members of the group if they do not disclose their whereabouts.

“All residents of Madhya Pradesh who went to Nizamuddin Markaz and those from foreign countries hiding in mosques have been identified and quarantined,” Chouhan tweeted on Tuesday. “But even after this if someone is hiding somewhere my request to him is to share information about him with the administration in 24 hours. If it is not done then administration will take necessary legal action by lodging criminal cases against them for jeopardising security of the state.”

India has so far reported 5,194 cases of the coronavirus, and 149 people have died while 401 have recovered, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

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