Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India
NEW DELHI — Refuting the allegations of being irresponsible over the holding of a meet in times of the Covid crisis here, the Tableeghi Jamaat administration of Hazrat Nizamuddin Markaz said on Tuesday that lack of transport due to the lockdown has forced over a thousand participants to remain stuck at the markaz dormitory.
A statement issued by the Jamaat administration said that they are fully complying with all orders from the authorities. But, due lack of help from the government, the decongestion of the markaz in these times was becoming difficult. “Markaz Nizamuddin never violated any provision of law,” the statement said.
The Tableeghi Jamaat is under spotlight after many persons who had attended religious congregations in the last couple of weeks at the Markaz tested positive for coronavirus. Criticism came that the Jamaat should have behaved in a more responsible manner and avoided congregations in the present context. On Tuesday, reports suggested that 24 people in Delhi who attended the Markaz tested positive for Covid. Chief Minister Kejriwal has directed the authorities to file a police report against the administration of Markaz.
The statement said that the cancellation of rail services a day before the ‘Janata Curfew’ announced by Prime Minister Modi prevented thousands of participants from returning home. They stayed at the Markaz premises. The meet was attended by preachers from abroad and faithful from different states.
Moreover, it said the week-long lockdown announced by Delhi CM on the 23rd March diminished any chance of these visitors availing road transport for their journey back home.
The statement claimed that despite the lockdown, “with the help of the Markaz administration, around 1500 visitors left Markaz Nizamuddin by availing whatever meager transport was available.”
On the evening of March 24, Prime Minister Modi announced a 21-day nation-wide lockdown, an unprecedented measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. He appealed to the people to stay put wherever they were. Just a day later, the fallouts of lockdown became evident with tens of thousands of migrant workers out on the roads in urban centres to walk back to their homes in the absence of public transport. It undermined the efforts of the government to curb the spread of the virus.
However, the Markaz said, it did not let its people violate the lockdown restrictions and medical guidelines by thronging the ISBTs or roaming in the streets. But the circumstances forced the administration to accommodate the stranded visitors with prescribed medical precautions till such time that the situation became conducive for their movement. “Efforts to decongest the mosque area had to be stopped midway because of lockdown itself.”
On the 24th March 2020, the local police station in Nizamuddin ordered the closure of the Markaz premises.
The markaz had appealed to the sub district magistrate of the area to issue vehicle passes to ferry the people back to their native places outside Delhi. “The requisite permission is still awaited,” the statement said. “Despite little support, the Markaz fully cooperated/tried to comply with guidelines,” it added.
On the 25th, the tehsildar, and on the 26th, the magistrate visited the Markaz to take stock of the situation. The next day, six people at the Markaz were taken for a medical check-up. Then, on the 28th March 2020, teams of the SDM and WHO visited the Markaz and 33 persons were taken for medical checkup to the Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Hospital. The same day, the assistant commissioner of police Lajpat Nagar, sent a notice to the Markaz citing prohibitory orders and a potential legal action for non-compliance. However, the Markaz said it had apprised the officials of the situation and the steps taken in consultation with the authorities.
For the last couple of days, reports and rumours are flying thick and fast that people affected with Covid-19 were present in the Markaz. In Telangana, six people who died of Coronavirus on Monday had attended the congregation at the Nizamuddin Markaz a few weeks back before travelling home. Furthermore, several positive cases that have emerged from different states are said to have connection with the congregation held in the Markaz.
“It may be possible that out of those who left in the first batch, some may have been affected and they passed on the infection,” the statement acknowledged.