The Delhi government led by Arvind Kejriwal appears to have caved in under the pressure of Delhi Minority Commission, which had demanded the AAP government to drop any reference to Tablighi Jamaat in its daily bulletins on coronavirus cases in Delhi. Conceding to the Minority Commission’s demand, the Delhi government has removed any reference to Tablighi Jamaat super-spreader and instead clubbed the positive coronavirus cases emerging from it under a tab named ‘Special Operations’.
The bulletin released by the health department of the Delhi Government last night has no mention of Markaz Nizamuddin induced coronavirus cases in the national capital and instead has a column with the title named “Special Operations” to include the positive COVID-19 cases due to the congregation that was organised by Tablighi Jamaat in mid-March. It is pertinent to note that the Delhi government, until a day ago, April 10, were cataloguing the positive coronavirus under the tab “Markaz Related” to provide the information about the cases that had links to the fateful event.
The move by the Delhi government to drop the reference to Markaz Nizamuddin related incidents in its daily bulletins came after the DMC Chairman Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan wrote a letter to the Arvind Kejriwal government asking him to discard the separate column ‘Markaz Related’ from its daily bulletin.
In the letter, he said: “Your bulletins of Coronavirus victims are showing a separate column ‘Markaz Masjid’. Such thoughtless classification is feeding into the Islamophobia agenda of the lap media and Hindutva forces and has been easily turned into a handle to attack Muslims across the country. As a result, Muslims are being attacked in various areas, calls are being made for their social boycott, one boy has been lynched in the North-West Delhi village of Harewali, others attacked.”
The DMC letter further said, “World Health Organisation has taken cognisance of this phenomenon, unique to India. WHO Emergency Programme Director Mike Ryan said on 6 April 2020: ‘Countries should not profile novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in terms of religion or any other criteria.’ Two days later he asked governments not to politicise the issue and stop profiling people on a religious basis.
The role of Tablighi Jamaat in the spreading of the Wuhan Coronavirus across numerous states of India had come to light when 10 people who had attended the congregation at Markaz Nizamuddin died of COVID-19. Muslim clerics of Tablighi Jamaat organised a congregation in violation of the government’s lockdown orders, providing a conducive environment for the novel coronavirus to proliferate. As per conservative estimates, the congregation organised by Tablighi Jamaat was attended by more than 2000 people, both from various parts of the country as well as from abroad. A staggering number of cases in the country are attributed to the Markaz Nizamuddin event where scores of Muslim clerics attended the event and later travelled to different parts of the country, carrying the infection with them.