Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan lashed out at the communalisation of the Tabligihi Jamaat meet in Nizamuddin.(Shashi S Kashyap/ HT PHOTO)
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan lashed out at the communalisation of the Tabligihi Jamaat meet in Nizamuddin.(Shashi S Kashyap/ HT PHOTO)

‘Virus has no religion’: Pinarayi Vijayan on criticism of Tablighi Jamaat meet

At least 80 of them returned between March 5 and 8 to north Kerala and they were asked to remain in quarantine until the shutdown is over.
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram | By Ramesh Babu
UPDATED ON APR 01, 2020 11:27 PM IST

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday condemned the move to isolate and attack a particular community citing the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Nizamuddin in Delhi even as the state reported 24 new Covid-19 cases.

“A virus has no religion and it spreads not on the basis of any religion or community. Some forces are trying to communalise the situation. They have started a virulent campaign on social media. Such attempts will not succeed in a state like Kerala,” the CM said adding strict action will be taken against such people. “There is no need of such intolerance. We will not tolerate it,” he said.

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He said there is no need for any panic over the Tablighi Jammat incident. “At least 60 people returned after the congregation and are under observation. We have collected details and passed all information to respective districts,” he said. When asked about the exact number of pilgrims from the state he did not reply. There are allegations that the government is not disclosing details so as not to trigger panic.

However, there are unconfirmed reports that more than 300 people from the state attended it.

At least 80 of them returned between March 5 and 8 to north Kerala and they were asked to remain in quarantine until the shutdown is over. Health officials said in their case there was no need to worry as the incubation period is almost over.

But 60 of them returned a day before the lockdown began (March 23) and they were identified and put under strict quarantine in different hospitals, said a senior health ministry official.

Over 100 people are reportedly stranded in Delhi and there are reports that some of them have proceeded to other religious places in north India as part of their itinerary and are stuck at different places. Fearing action some of them are not receiving calls on their mobile phones making their contact tracing really cumbersome, police officials said.

A resident of Pathanamthitta, Dr M Saleem (67), who participated in the congregation, died on March 24 and later his body was buried in Delhi. His relatives said he was suffering from multiple complications and he died of a heart attack. But now many suspect he may have died of Covid-19 and his test results are yet to emerge.

Meanwhile the state has reported 24 new cases taking the total number of positive cases to 265-- this includes 26 people discharged from hospitals. Among 24, 9 are foreign returnees and 15 their contacts. The total number under observation has also risen to 1,64,130. To a question the CM said community transmission was yet to take place in the state.

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