First link between Tablighi Jamaat congregation and COVID-19 was spotted on March 17
New Delhi, Apr 01: The first time the connection between the Tablighi Jamaat and coronavirus emerged was on March 17 2020. It was at this time that a case was detected in Telangana and by March 21, the Ministry of Home Affairs had drawn up a list of 800 foreigners associated with the Tablighi Jamaat.
It was learnt that an Indonesian, who attended the conference at Nizamuddin and travelled to Telangana had tested positive on March 17. Home Ministry sources tell OneIndia that nearly 1,000 Tablighi workers from abroad were in India. Of this around 200 were staying in Nizamuddin, the source also said.
The source also said that once they had identified the 800 foreign nationals, an advisory was sent to all the states to track them and medically screen them. The MHA says that nationals of Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Kyrgyzstan had come for proselytising activities.
The MHA says that so far 1,203 Tablighi Jamaat workers had been screened of which 303 had symptoms of COVID-19. The MHA in a statement said that the Bureau of Immigration has been sharing since February 1 with State authorities, details of all international arrivals from affected countries based on Self Declaration Form filled in by them. In addition, since March 6, Bureau of Immigration had also been sharing details of all the international arrivals (both Indians and foreigners) at all the international airports in the country.
Meanwhile the government has decided to blacklist all the foreigners who attended the Tablighi Jamaat event at Nizamuddin for violation of visa rules. Nearly 800 will be blacklisted, government sources have confirmed. Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said that all those who travelled to India on tourist visas recently and violated visa conditions will be proceeded against legally. This would include being blacklisted as well, he said.
A strict lockdown has been imposed in parts of southeast Nizamuddin after 24 persons tested positive for COVID-19. These are also being linked to cases in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andaman Islands, Uttar Pradesh, Kashmir and also the five deaths in Telangana.
All these persons are said to have attended the congregation at the Nizamuddin Mosque in mid-March. Over 1,000 people continued to stay at the Markaz even as a 21 day nation-wide lockdown was announced. The organisation has been accused of gross negligence and an FIR has been lodged against the Maulana of the Mosque.