The Ministry of Home Affairs has asked all states and Union Territories to conduct Covid-19 screenings of Rohingya refugees in their jurisdiction as several may have attended last month’s Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi’s Nizamuddin, PTI reported on Friday, citing officials. The religious congregation later emerged as a coronavirus hotspot.
The community’s members who reside in camps in Hyderabad had attended the Tablighi Jamaat “Ijtema” at Haryana’s Nuh district, the ministry said. It added that some of them were also present at the Nizamuddin event.
The notification highlighted that the refugees, residing in Delhi’s Shram Vihar and Shaheen Bagh neighbourhoods, who had gone for the Tablighi Jamaat congregations had not returned to their camps. The ministry cited reports from Dera Bassi city in Punjab and Jammu area of Jammu and Kashmir about the presence of Rohingya Muslims, arriving there after working for the Tablighi Jamaat.
“Therefore, Rohingya Muslims and their contacts may need to be screened for COVID-19,” the order said. “Accordingly, necessary measures may be taken in this regard on priority.” The ministry said there are nearly 40,000 Rohingya refugees in different parts of the country.
In March, eight Rohingya Muslims were quarantined in Jammu as they had attended the Nizamuddin congregation.
Thousands of Indians and hundreds of foreigners had attended the Tablighi Jamaat conference last month. Many also fanned out across the country to recruit people after this, raising concerns about the scale of the potential spread of infection at the conference. On April 5, the health ministry said the religious gathering had pushed up the doubling rate of cases in India to 4.1 days from the estimated 7.4 days. Over 25,000 Tablighi Jamaat members and their contacts were quarantined in the country after the Centre and the states launched a massive operation to trace them.
The Enforcement Directorate has registered a money laundering case against Tablighi Jamaat leader Maulana Saad Kandhlawi, trusts linked to the Jamaat and others. The agency will reportedly investigate whether the markaz used donations it received for money laundering and if it was moved around through hawala or non-banking channels.