Covid-19: Of 1,800 people in Delhi’s Nizamuddin, most were from Tamil Nadu
More than half of the 1,800 people who participated in the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi’s Nizamuddin came from two states - Tamil Nadu and Assam - officials have said. The Jamaat’s headquarters in Nizamuddin area has emerged as one of the biggest coronavirus disease hotspots in India with 24 people testing positive and nearly 200 others showing symptoms of Covid-19.
Giving statewise break-up of the number of people present at the congregation held earliet this month, officials said that 510 people came from Tamil Nadu, 281 from Assam, 156 from Uttar Pradesh, 109 from Maharashtra, 107 from Madhya Pradesh, 86 from Bihar, 73 from West Bengal, 55 from Telangana, 46 from Jharkhand, 45 from Karnataka, 34 from Uttarakhand, 22 from Haryana, 21 from Andaman and Nicobar Islands, 19 from Rajasthan, 15 each from Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Odisha, nine from Punjab and five from Meghalaya.
About 1,800 people attended the annual congregation, the officials said.
There were 281 foreigners, officials said, adding that they flouted visa norms. Citing preliminary reports, they said that these people appeared to have entered the country on a tourist visa rather than mandatory missionary visa.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) lawmaker Atishi has sought strong action against the organisers for hosting the congregation. “Strong action should be taken against the administrators of the Nizamuddin Markaz who organised a 3-day religious gathering, with 1000s of people from March 13-15, when Delhi government orders had expressly forbidden gatherings or more than 200 persons on 13th March itself,” the Kalkaji MLA said in a tweet.
The Jamaat is an evangelical Muslim sect aimed at spreading the teachings of the Prophet. Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain said that 700 people who attended the congregation have been quarantined. There are about 394 more people in hospitals.
The attendees came in from several nations such as Indonesia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Kyrgyzstan and spread out to other parts of India such as Kashmir and Andhra Pradesh, creating a web of close contacts that now threatens to create an explosion of Covid-19 cases in the country.
Eight of these people, including seven who went to Hyderabad and one who went to Srinagar, have succumbed to the disease. The Hyderabad deaths took place on Monday.
All of them had been to the building in Nizamuddin - also referred to as a markaz - which shares a boundary with the police station and is close to the famous Nizamuddin Auliya shrine.
The Jamaatis originally come from the Mewat region on Haryana-Rajasthan border and are currently headed by Maulana Saad.
The Delhi government was also in the dark about activities at Markaz till the Indian security agencies confirmed the presence of foreigner nationals at the building in the densely-populated south Delhi locality.
A hostel-like complex, the building has six floors with accommodations for up to 2,000 people on the upper floors. The basement and the ground floors housing a kitchen and a communal dining area.