The National Commission for Minorities on Friday urged the government to disseminate the message across the country that the entire Muslim community should not be held responsible for the spurt in Covid-19 cases due to a Tablighi Jamaat congregation held last month in New Delhi, PTI reported.
Last week, the Centre had said that the congregation had led to 30% of the total cases nationwide.
National Commission for Minorities Joint Secretary Daniel E Richards told Press Information Bureau Principal Director General KS Dhatwalia in a letter that media reports have been suggesting that the Tablighi Jamaat attendees are responsible for the spike in cases since the end of March.
“While such action by the Jamaat attendees is highly condemnable and merits suitable action by the authorities, it may be appreciated that these persons do not represent the entire Muslim community and holding the whole Muslim community responsible for actions of the Tablighi Jamaat attendees is wrong and uncalled for,” Richards said. He added that the Muslim community has been complying with the nationwide lockdown just like the other citizens of India.
Richards said that the commission feels there is an urgent need to present the correct picture in the media, that the entire Muslim community should not be held responsible for the actions of some Tablighi Jamaat members. “I request you to take necessary steps to ensure that this message is adequately conveyed in the country through all mediums of the media immediately,” Richards told the PIB.
The National Commission for Minorities said it had written the letter due to the increasing instances of ill-treatment of Muslims in the country, in the wake of the Tablighi Jamaat incident.
Videos circulating on social media platforms in the recent past have appeared to show Muslim men spitting on food, licking plates and sneezing in unison to spread the virus – all of these have been debunked as fake news. Even certain television channels and organisations like the Bharatiya Janata Party’s IT Cell have blamed Muslims for the spread of the pandemic.
In several places, this had also translated into violence. On April 7, rumours about Muslim men intentionally spitting to spread the virus reportedly led to group clashes in Jharkhand’s Gumla district. A youth was beaten to death and two others were injured in the incident.
A group of people in Uttar Pradesh’s Mahoba district had on April 14 allegedly misbehaved with some Muslim vegetable vendors and stopped them from selling their goods. The mob claimed that the Muslims were members of the Tablighi Jamaat.