A report published in the Indian Express today claimed that the Delhi police suspects that the video where the Markaz Nizamuddin head Maulana Saad Kandhalvi of the Tablighi Jamaat was heard asking Muslims not to follow social distancing norms amidst the Coronavirus pandemic may be ‘doctored’. However, the claims cited in the report did not add up and OpIndia had done an extensive fact-check writing how the story in probably fake, in order to shield the Tablighi Jamaat and Maulana Saad.
Now, the Delhi Police has issued a statement on Twitter calling the report in the Indian Express imaginary and fake news. The Delhi Police said that it does not stand by the story and the reporter, Mahender Manral has essentially imagined the details of the investigation.
The claims made by the reporter regarding the investigation are totally baseless.— #DilKiPolice Delhi Police (@DelhiPolice) May 9, 2020
The Delhi Police does not in any way stand by the story of the reporter, nor has he spoken to any official sources claimed in his report.
The Delhi Police said, “The Indian Express report dated 9.5.20 with an article captioned: Tablighi FIR: Police probe indicates Saad audio clip was doctored – Written by Mahender Manral, is not only factually incorrect but seems to be based on wholly unverified sources and purely conjectural imagination”.
Further, the Delhi Police tweeted “He (Reporter Mahendra Manral) claims made by the reporter regarding the investigation are totally baseless. The Delhi Police does not in any way stand by the story of the reporter, nor has he spoken to any official sources claimed in his report”.
The statement published by Delhi Police only vindicates the fact-check done by OpIndia earlier in the day.
We had said that firstly, most videos on any platform are often edited from the raw data to ensure that the final product is ready for viewership. We had also said that since the video was uploaded on the official Delhi Markaz page and it was a stretch of imagination to claim that the Tablighi Jamaat member himself edited the video maliciously to implicate Maulana Saad and the Delhi Markaz page allowed the video to be published. Further, we had also speculated that it does not add up for Maulana Saad to abscond if the video was, in fact, maliciously edited.
The Markaz, Nizamuddin in Delhi is at the heart of the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak in the country. Hundreds of potential infections have occurred during a religious event organized at the place earlier this month. Moreover, around 2500 people were housed at the Masjid as late as the 22nd of March and after 1,500 of them left on the 23rd, around a thousand people were still holed up inside.
The whole episode escalated when 163 people who were present at the Markaz, Nizamuddin were admitted to the Lok Nayak Hospital after showing symptoms of the Wuhan Coronavirus. At least eight people who attended the event have died of the virus thus far. The Delhi Police on Monday announced that it will request the Delhi Police to register an FIR against the Maulana of Markaz, Nizamuddin. Since then, an FIR has been registered against the Maulana and others under Section 3 of The Epidemic Diseases Act (1897) for organizing the Islamic event at Markz, Nizamuddin amidst the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic.
Ever since the Tablighi Jamaat event exploded, spreading the Coronavirus in the country, a concerted attempt has been underway to shield Tablighi Jamaat members, the Markaz and even Maulana Saad. Anyone who questioned the conduct of the Jamaatis was branded Islamophobic and ostracised for assigning religion to the pandemic, completely ignoring the fact that it was indeed the Jamaatis who wilfully spread the virus in the country.
It seems the latest fake news by Indian Express is just another attempt by the media to shield the Tablighi Jamaat and the radical Islamists who have deliberately spread the Coronavirus amongst the unsuspecting population of India.