Tablighi Jamaat says it was forced to host visitors due to lockdown
After evacuating about 1600 people from the Markaz building, Delhi Police on Tuesday registered a First Information Report (FIR) against Maulana Saad and others of Tablighi Jamaat under sections of Epidemic Disease Act.
The case has been filed under the epidemic act 1897 read with Section 269, 270, 271 and 120-B Indian Penal Code (IPC) for violation of government directions given to the management of Markaz of Basti Nizamuddin regarding restriction of social/political/religious gathering and for taking safety measures, including social distancing for prevention and treatment of COVID-19 viral infection, said Delhi Police.
On Tuesday about 1100 devotees and preachers who gathered for a religious meeting at the headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat, popularly known as 'Markaz' in South East Delhi's Nizamuddin area, were evacuated and isolated for checkup and testing of Novel COVID-19.
On Monday, the police evacuated 200 people suspected of the symptoms of COVID-19.
According to police between 10 March to 15 March, more than 3000-4000 people including foreign nationals from Indonesia, Jordan, Yemen, Saudi Arab, China, Ukraine, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Afganistan, Bangladesh and others participated in the Markaz.
The Markaz is organised for the entire year and people from across the nation and abroad visit the place frequently. As per a local, the devotees visit the areas in batches to listen to the preachers.
"Many of them left the place before lockdown but 1000 stranded inside the building after Lockdown. After lockdown, there were about 1600 stayed and quarantined inside the building including about 200 foreign nationals," said a police official.
The Markaz building is located in a residential area. The building has seven floors with two basements and a big dining room, with a capacity of staying arrangments for about 10000 people.
As per the officials, the evacuated people are admitted to Narela, Lok Nayak, Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital, Safdarjung Hospital, GTB Hospital, AIIMS Jhajjar.
Meanwhile, Tablighi Jamaat says it was forced to host visitors due to lockdown
The Tablighi Jamaat issued a detailed statement saying soon after the call to observe ‘Janata Curfew’ on March 22 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the ongoing programme at the Markaz (centre) was immediately discontinued. The statement added that the sudden suspension of trains across the country left a large number of visitors stranded in the premises.
“Suddenly, on the evening of March 23, a nationwide lockdown was announced by the PM with a clear message for the people to stay put wherever they are. Under such compelling circumstances, Markaz Nizamuddin was left with no option but to accommodate the stranded visitors with prescribed medical precautions,” said the statement issued by the Markaz administration.
According to the centre, it had received a notice on March 24, from the station house officer (SHO) police station Hazrat Nizamuddin seeking closure of the premises. However, they responded to the notice the same day complying with the directions regarding closure of the Markaz and the concerned sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) was requested to issue passes for 17 vehicles with details to evacuate stranded visitors and send them to their destinations.
The Jamaat said that subsequently a team of the SDM and World Health Organisation (WHO) visited the site on Friday and Saturday and 39 persons were taken to various hospitals. However, the additional commissioner of police (ACP) surprisingly issued a notice warning of legal action. The same (ACP notice) was replied to in detail, said the statement.
Referring to media reports regarding hundreds of people found at the centre infected with COVID-19 and a couple of deaths and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal asking authorities to take legal action against the administration, the statement denied any violation.
“The fact-check could have been done by the Office of the Chief Minister, the authorities would have apprised him about their visits, deliberations and cooperation extended by the Markaz in order to disperse the remaining visitors,” said the communique.
The centre also offered its premises as a quarantine facility to help the authorities tide over the challenge of the current pandemic.