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Nizamuddin-like event near Mumbai was averted in March

By PTI
|

Mumbai, Apr 02: Thanks to the alertness shown by Maharashtra's home department, a congregation similar to the one held in Delhi's Nizamuddin area, now linked to COVID-19 spread, was averted near here following withdrawal of permission, minister Anil Deshmukh said on Thursday.

Representational Image

A two-day mega religious programme was planned in Vasai, on outskirts of Mumbai, but the home department denied permission for it after initially giving the go-ahead.

An official statement, quoting Home Minister Deshmukh, said an outfit, Shamim Education and Welfare Society, had formally sought permission from the department for organising a programme, Tablighi Ijtema, near Diwanman village in West Vasai on March 14-15.

The society, while seeking permission, had conveyed to the department that around 50,000 devotees would attend the event in which the Quran was to be recited besides offering of namaz.

The police, in a letter dated February 5, had informed the society about granting permission for the event.

In the meantime, Deshmukh said COVID 19 cases were being reported in the country and the state, and several people were quarantined while suspects were being treated.

The department reconsidered granting permission to the Vasai event amid such a situation given that coming together of 50,000 people would have been detrimental to controlling the spread of the coronavirus, the release said.

Accordingly, permission was denied for the (Vasai) programme on March 6. Plus, strict instructions were given to the organisers of the event against holding the programme.

The alertness shown by the home department against the backdrop of the coronavirus outbreak helped in averting the Delhi-like episode, the statement quoted Deshmukh as saying.

The minister said Tablighi Jamaat's event held in Delhi's Nizamuddin last month has caused fear among people across the country as some devotees who attended the programme in the national capital were infected by coronavirus.

He said those who came in contact with the devotees concerned also have shown symptoms of COVID 19.

The situation in Delhi could have been averted had the alertness as shown by the (Maharashtra) state home department was exhibited there, Deshmukh said.

Sources in the police department said the decision to cancel the permission was taken by Niket Kaushik, Inspector General of Police, Konkan Range along with Palghar superintendent of policeGaurav Singh on March 6.

"Cases of COVID-19 had started growing in the country, there was fear that the infection would spread more through such events, so we took this decision," said Kaushik.

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