In a big development, a case has been registered by the Delhi Police against Maulana Saad and other officials of Tablighi Jamaat for violating the restriction pertaining to a religious gathering. Sections under the Epidemic Disease Act,1897 and Section 269, 270, 271 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code have been invoked. In the FIR, it has been stated that the congregation failed to take safety measures for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. Earlier, the Markaz Nizamuddin claimed that it had not flouted the rules and discontinued the religious function after the announcement of the nationwide lockdown. Instead, it alleged that many of the attendees were stuck due to the unavailability of transport services.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, 1746 individuals including 216 foreigners were staying in the Markaz building as of March 21. After the MHA's advisory on March 28, the police personnel in different states identified 2,137 persons associated with the Tablighi Jamaat in order to screen them for the novel coronavirus and quarantine them. Meanwhile, the MHA revealed that 1203 Tablighi Jamaat workers in the Markaz Nizamuddin have been medically screened since March 26 out of which 303 symptomatic patients have been referred to different hospitals. On the other hand, the remaining people have been sent to quarantine centres in Narela, Bakkarwala, and Sultanpuri.
A controversy erupted when a religious congregation was held at Markaz Nizamuddin, the Tablighi Jamaat international headquarters in mid-March defying the social distancing norms. As per the Delhi government, this was in violation of the prevailing orders, which prohibited large gatherings. Earlier in the day, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain confirmed that 24 people who were at the Tablighi Jamaat congregation tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal directed an FIR to be registered against the organizers of the religious congregation. Meanwhile, AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh raised questions on how foreign nationals were allowed to attend the religious congregation without getting screened for the novel coronavirus or quarantined. He alleged that this constituted “gross negligence” on the part of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the Ministry of External Affairs and the Delhi Police.