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Tablighi Jamaat emerge as super-spreaders​ of coronavirus, but State Minorities Commission asks Delhi govt to drop column of ‘Markaz Majid’ from charts

Chief Minister’s Office clarified that the distinction was being made to assure people there was no need to worry about community transmission

The Tablighi Jamaat event at the Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi held earlier in March has wreaked havoc in the country. Out of India’s 2500 odd cases, 647 have been linked to the congregation organised by Tablighi Jamaat, a staggering 28 per cent of the total cases.

In Delhi too, the number of cases are increasing rapidly and most of these cases are related to Nizamuddin Markaz. Yesterday, Delhi reported 93 new cases and all the cases were related to the Tablighi Jamaat. Despite the overwhelming number of coronavirus positive cases, linked to the Tablighi Jamaat, emerging every day, the Delhi Minorities Commission has written a letter to the Delhi government urging it to drop the separate column of ‘Markaz Majid’ in its daily bulletins on coronavirus cases in Delhi.

The DMC Chairman Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan said in his letter: “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.”

It becomes imperative to note here, that the example Khan has used in his letter to legitimize his claims, of a Muslim boy being “lynched in the North-West Delhi village of Harewali”, is reportedly Mehboob Ali, who was attacked but not killed. He is currently undergoing treatment at a hospital and is doing fine. This was once again a classic case of selective reporting by the liberal media.

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 Indian Union health ministry followed suit and said in its advisory on 8 April 2020: ‘Despite all precautions, if anybody catches the infection, it is not their fault. In a situation of distress, the patient and the family need support and cooperation.” Further, the advisory requested citizens to ‘never spread names or identity of those affected or under quarantine or their locality on the social media’”.

Amidst the Coronavirus outbreak, the Delhi health department has been publishing a daily health bulletin giving out comprehensive details of coronavirus case status in the state.

The daily health bulletin updates the: total number of coronavirus cases, new cases on that specific day, discharged and migrated out coronavirus patients, the total number of death as on that day in Delhi. It also has other three columns which have been mentioned under ‘source of cases’. The Tablighi Jamaat finds mention under this sub-heading, as ‘Markaz Related’. The other two columns mentioned as a source are ‘Foreign Travel History/Contact History’ and ‘Under Investigation’. It is important to note here that the Delhi government has mentioned Jamaat as a source of the infection, simply like foreign travel and local contact is also mentioned. Had source not been mentioned, then it would imply community transmission and would create panic.

Responding to a journalist’s tweet questioning the classification, Akshay Marathe from the Chief Minister’s Office said the distinction was being made to assure people there was no need to worry about community transmission.

Last week, 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. Out of India’s 2500 odd cases, 647 have been linked to the congregation organised by Tablighi Jamaat, a staggering 28 per cent of the total cases. The investigative agencies are scrambling to identify other attendees who they believe may have contracted the virus due to the unhygienic and unhealthy sanitation at the Jamaat premises.

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