Wrestler and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Babita Phogat on Friday hit out at those criticising her for her comments related to the Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamic sect linked to a religious event held in Nizamuddin in Delhi last month. The event later emerged as a coronavirus hotspot.
Phogat had on Wednesday claimed that the coronavirus was the second biggest problem in the country as “uncivilised Jamaati” stands at number one. The wrestler in a video message on Friday said she had been receiving threats after her remarks.
“Over the past few days, I posted a few tweets [on Tablighi Jamaat],” she said. “After that, I started getting threats on my social media handles. I would like to say that I am no Zaira Wasim. I would not get threatened.... I have always fought for my country. I stand by my tweets.... I wrote nothing wrong.”
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National Award winner and actor Zaira Wasim had portrayed the role of Phogat’s sister Geeta Phogat in their biopic Dangal. Last year, Wasim quit acting saying that it interfered with her faith and religion.
In a tweet on Thursday, Phogat also defended actor Kangana Ranaut’s sister Rangoli Chandel after her Twitter account was suspended.
Meanwhile, a BJP MLA from Chhaprauli village in Noida called for separating people from the members of the Tablighi Jamaat and others from “their community”. Sahendra Singh Chauhan also asked his constituents to “maintain distance” from them.
“In my constituency, several cases linked to the Jamaat were found,” he said in a video message posted on Facebook. “It is my humble appeal that people should stay away from the members of the particular community. It is for their own safety and the safety of others around them.”
Chauhan said he had spoken to the meal distribution team and the local magistrate that they should be served food separately and given a fixed time for withdrawing money. “This is in the interest of the district and the nation,” he added.
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.