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Residents of Nizamuddin Basti near Tablighi Jamaat Markaz refuse to share health details with officials, claims it threatens their citizenship

The controversial Islamic body Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, which is influential in the area, questioned the officials on the purpose of their visit.

The residents of the Nizamuddin Basti, the locality which has become the epicentre of the coronavirus spread in the country, are reportedly not cooperating with the health officials as they are refusing to share health details amidst the scare of the health pandemic in the country.

According to an Economic Times report, the government officials had visited residents of Nizamuddin Basti, situated close to the Tablighi Jamaat’s headquarters at Banglewali Masjid, on Friday in the wake of transmission of the coronavirus by attendees of Tablighi Jamaat.

The officials had asked the residents to fill up forms with details about their health conditions and travel histories. This is part of the exercise under the Disease Surveillance Programme, where the Centre and the health department officials visited every house in Nizamuddin Basti and asked people to fill up a form with ten questions and list the head of the family, details of the other members, whether any of them had shown symptoms of fever, cough or respiratory problems, contact and address details of the people they regularly meet, travel data of any place outside Delhi, data of doctors they consulted and history of medical illness among others.

This exercise has now sparked unrest in parts of the area, with some people refusing to share details with the officials saying the data collection exercise was a “threat to their citizenship”.

According to the health officials, the exercise is a regular practice in times of an outbreak. The officials were assisted by experts in healthcare from the Aga Khan Foundation who asked the residents to “not hide any of their health issues, and get in touch with their Sehat Aapas”. A senior government official speaking to ET said that this was an attempt to “identify if there was any community transmission”. He added that given its proximity to the Markaz, the locality is a potential hotspot. For necessary steps to be taken, the data is important, he added.

Shockingly, the residents of the basti have now refused to fill out the form. The controversial Islamic body Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, which is influential in the area, questioned the officials on the purpose of their visit.

“The doctors had come that day, and people with symptoms had self-identified themselves. They have all been quarantined. There is no need for written forms, mobile and address details… they can always speak to us and get details,” said a member of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind.

The Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind member also questioned the need of health officials visit when the entire basti was cordoned off, and at a time people are staying at home. “What is the need for outsiders to come and carry out such an extensive exercise with so many data points?” he asked.

The member said the basti’s residents were being visited by officials almost daily, and that every precaution was being followed. “Even the chemist shops have been told to have only three customers at any given time. We are only against unauthorised data collection,” he said.

The non-co-operation by Muslim residents has continued ever since the reports that Tablighi Jamaat is the primary sources of transmission of coronavirus in the country emerged. A series of attacks have been unleashed against health workers, policemen who have been fighting at the forefront to collect information regarding the people who may have carried the Chinese virus after visiting the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi.

Tablighi Jamaat members, who are emerging as the sole reason for the sudden spike in the number of coronavirus cases in India, are turning out to be quite a headache for the authorities. The anti-social behaviour of attendees of Tablighi Jamaat has left the authorities and medical teams completely distraught.

From attacking medical teams who were searching for Tablighi members for who had attended the religious congregation to check them for possible infection, to spiting on doctors at an Isolation centre, to roaming naked in their ward and making lewd gestures for female staff, these attendees have been displaying extreme crassness.

The Tablighi Jamaat is has become the epicentre of the transmission of the Chinese coronavirus across the country. 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. In India, the Jamaat has come under severe criticism for defying the lockdown and organising a congregation.

The Jamaat members taking buses and trains to their respective localities all over India has resulted in a massive nation-wide spread within a span of few days. As per government reports, over 9000 Tablighi Jamaat attendees and their primary contacts have so far been quarantined. At least 700 positive cases from Tablighi event has been reported in the last two days and few of them have died.

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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