Delhi govt awaits MHA orders before releasing quarantined Jamaat attendees
According to an official, 3,013 persons had been shifted from the Jamaat’s headquarters (Markaz building) and other mosques in the city to quarantine centres at Narela, Bakkarwala, Mandoli, Sultanpuri, Dwarka and Badarpur.Updated: May 06, 2020 03:35 IST
The Delhi government has written to the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) seeking directions for the release of around 3,000 people who were shifted to state government-run quarantine facilities in the last week of March from the Tablighi Jamaat’s headquarters in Nizamuddin Basti and other mosques in the city.
According to senior Delhi government officials, while all of them tested negative and completed at least 28 days in quarantine, the lack of clear guidelines from the Centre have delayed their release. The officials said the Delhi government has received requests from several state governments asking that many of them be sent home.
According to an official, 3,013 persons had been shifted from the Jamaat’s headquarters (Markaz building) and other mosques in the city to quarantine centres at Narela, Bakkarwala, Mandoli, Sultanpuri, Dwarka and Badarpur.
Of them, 2,446 are Indian nationals, including 191 from Delhi.
In a letter to the home ministry dated May 3, the Delhi government’s health department requested the MHA to issue directions/protocol immediately for the release of these people.
“These people have tested negative for Covid-19, including several who have tested negative twice and completed more than 28 days in quarantine. We have informed the MHA that it is becoming difficult to explain the reasons for their extended stay to these people, especially during Ramzan,” said a senior Delhi government official, requesting anonymity.
Home ministry officials refused to comment on the matter.
This is the second letter sent to the MHA seeking directions, according to another senior Delhi government official.
“While we are getting requests for their release from various states, we can’t release them as we don’t have a protocol or directions from the Centre. We are waiting for the MHA’s response,” a government official said.
The Markaz building in Nizamuddin Basti emerged as India’s biggest Covid-19 hot spot towards the end of March, and accounts for at least one-fifth of the 5,106 cases reported in Delhi until May 5.
Of the 3,013 persons in quarantine, 1,080 tested positive, as per the Delhi government’s April 17 medical bulletin - the last one that gave a separate count of Markaz attendees and their contacts. The Delhi government listed cases related to the Markaz as “under special operations”, starting April 11.
HT earlier reported that around 16,500 people had visited the Jamaat’s headquarters around the time it emerged as a Covid-19 hot spot between March 13 and 24.
“All the patients who were brought to the hospital from the Nizamuddin markaz have already been discharged after they tested negative twice consecutively. They have been sent to government facilities for a 14-day quarantine, which people who have recovered usually undergo at their homes. Many of them have also agreed to become plasma donors,” said a senior doctor from Lok Nayak hospital, on condition of anonymity.
Anees Ahmed, 38, who was shifted to the Badarpur quarantine facility from Markaz on March 31, said, “We have been here for 35 days, and no one is able to tell us when we will be allowed to go home. Most of us here have tested negative for Covid-19 twice. We have completed more than the required quarantine period. Why are we not being sent home?”
All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi had also written to Union home minister Amit Shah to allow 38 people from Telangana who were part of the gathering at the markaz to return to their home state.
“Wrote to @AmitShah @kishanreddybjp & Telangana Chief Secy Somesh Kumar sahab requesting discharge & travel pass for 38 persons from Telangana who are still in Delhi’s quarantine centres despite completing their quarantine period & all their tests being negative,” Owaisi had tweeted on May 2, along with the photographs of the letters he had written.
“Our MP has written to the home minister, but we don’t know when we will be allowed to go back home,” said Ahmed, who runs business in Hyderabad.