With over 300 hospitalised since the detection of multiple Coronavirus cases in Delhi-based Tablighi Jamaat Markaz at Nizamuddin, fear, confusion, and politics have erupted over the religious congregation held there in mid-March. State governments from across India, from where people had attended the gathering and then returned, have now scrambled to track those attendees, put them under quarantine and also began testing them for COVID-19 infection.
READ | Adityanath Cuts Short Visit To COVID-affected Districts, To Hold Meeting On Nizamuddin Fallout
To present a clear picture, here's the timeline of how events played up at Nizamuddin Markaz which now have seemingly turned it into a major Coronavirus hotspot in the country:
- Since March 13: 3400 people become part of the religious gathering at the Nizamuddin Markaz; attendees belong to several southern states as well as foreign countries.
- March 16: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal prohibits religious, social, political gatherings of more than 50 people in the national capital till March 31 in view of the Coronavirus outbreak. People at the Markaz continue to stay there.
- March 20: 10 Indonesians who attended the gathering test positive in Telangana
- March 22: Nationwide 'Janta curfew' kicks in
- March 23: 1500 people vacate the Markaz. (Delhi Police team visits the Markaz and informs them of flouting norms of the State advisory on lockdown. By evening, attendees start vacating premises.)
- March 24: PM Modi announces nationwide lockdown effective midnight. SHO of Nizamuddin sends legal notice to the Markaz asking them to vacate the premises.
- March 25: Around 1000 people still remain. A medical team visits the Markaz and suspected cases are isolated into a hall within the building. Jamaat officials go to the SDM's office and file an application for permission to vacate. Vehicles' list also given to seek vehicle passes. (Markaz informs SHO that around 1000 people are still left including 280 foreign nationals. SDM visits the Markaz and tells them all to self-isolate. A medical team visits Markaz, none of the insiders complain of any sickness.)
- March 26: An Indian preacher who attended the gathering here tests positive for Coronavirus and dies in Srinagar. SDM visits the Markaz and calls the Jamaat officials for a meeting with the DM. The meeting takes place and DM is apprised of the situation.
- March 27: Six COVID-19 suspects taken away from the Markaz for a medical checkup and are later put in a quarantine facility in Jhajjar, Haryana. (This is the first time cases are reported).
- March 28: SDM and a WHO team visit the Markaz. 33 persons who were taken for medical checkups are kept in isolation at Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Hospital in Delhi. Lajpat Nagar ACP sends a notice to the Markaz to vacate premises.
- March 29: Markaz officials respond to the ACP's letter saying no new people were allowed to gather post nationwide lockdown announcement. Markaz says the current gathering had started much before the lockdown was announced and that they were in compliance with all prohibitory orders imposed by the Central and State authorities since the March 22 'Janta Curfew'.
- From the night of March 29: Police and health authorities start evacuating people from the Markaz and sending them to hospitals and quarantine facilities.
READ | 'Telangana Still Enumerating Nizamuddin Attendees' Says Minister KTR As 300 Hospitalise
According to sources, Karnataka has quarantined 54 attendees, Tamil Nadu has traced 981 of 1500 attendees (16 have tested positive), Assam had 100 attendees — most of them still in Delhi. Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh has traced 626 of the 711 attendees (8 have tested positive), Andaman has reported 10 positive cases – 9 of whom were attendees, UP has traced 157 attendees and Jammu & Kashmir has identified six attendees. Delhi government has insisted on strict action against the mosque administrators as the event had violated the state's ban on public gathering imposed at that time. So far, India has reported over 1200 COVID-19 cases and 32 deaths.
READ | Markaz Nizamuddin Denies Its Congregation Violated Any Laws, Despite Outbreak & Panic
READ | 'Delhi's Nizamuddin Cordoned Off, People Gathered Inside Taken For COVID-19 Tests': DCP