Assam health and finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has announced that from 6th April, criminal cases will be filed against entire villages if they are found hiding people who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat event in New Delhi last month. The senior minister said this after several cases of people returning from Jamaat was found hiding in various places of the state, causing a huge risk as they are potential carriers of the Wuhan Coronavirus.
The minister gave a deadline till 6 PM on Sunday for people who had attended the event to come out and inform the authorities, or for people who may be sheltering such people in their houses and villages. He said that if someone is hiding, eventually they will be caught, and after that not only the hiding Jamaatis, but also people sheltering them, and the entire village will be booked under criminal charges.
The Health Minister said that till now the health workers were looking for people returned from Tablighi Jamaat, but now they are unable to find them as people are hiding such persons. Therefore, from Monday the job will be handed over to the police, and if caught, criminal proceedings will be undertaken against such people.
Himanta Biswa Sarma made this announcement after an incident of 9 Tablighi Jamaat attendees were found hiding in Darrang district in Assam. The Jamaatis, who are from Mumbai, were hiding in the house of a local named Yakub Ali in Kamarpara village near Kharupetia town. According to reports, after attending Tablighi Jamaat at Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi, this group of nine people came to Assam through Mumbai and Kolkata. They visited several mosques in Darrang district and had been hiding in Yakub’s home since March 24.
While Assam was free from Coronavirus cases till last week, the Tablighi Jamaat event has added Assam to the list of states affected by the pandemic. 26 persons have tested positive for Covid-19 in last few days, and 25 of them are directly linked to the Jamaat.
Ever since the role of the Tablighi Jamaat in spreading the Coronavirus came into light, the state government has launched a massive effort to locate them, to quarantine and test them. But most people who had returned from Nizamuddin Markaz didn’t come forward on their own, despite repeated appeals by the govt and community leaders, and most of them were traced with the help of neighbours who had spotted them. The situation has aggravated further as several Jamaatis from outside Assam came to the state to preach after the event in Delhi was over. In fact, three persons from Uttar Pradesh, who had attended the Jamaat, was found binding in a mosque and later they were tested positive for Coronavirus.
Today the health minister also met the Tablighi Jamaat leaders in Assam, and requested them to share the list of all who had visited the Tablighi Jamaat in Nizamuddin Markaz as it is very important to quarantine them.
Due to the non-cooperation of Tablighi Jamaat in combating the coronavirus, several mosque committee in Assam have banned the Islamic sect. The Mosques and various Muslim organisations in the state have appealed the Jamaatis to come forward so that they don’t spread the disease.