The tally of confirmed novel Coronavirus cases in Assam has surged to 13, with all the affected persons having attended the Markaz Nizamuddin congregation in the national capital. Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma disclosed this on Republic TV on Wednesday. According to him, the Centre had initially informed that 456 Markaz attendees had entered Assam out of which 196 persons had been successfully traced by the state government.
However, he revealed that the actual number of people who participated in the religious congregation was 556. Moreover, Sarma lamented the fact that 193 people were hiding from the administration. Maintaining that there was no stigma associated with the disease, he appealed to the remaining Markaz attendees to come forward themselves.
Himanta Biswa Sarma remarked, “I just got information from Jorhat Medical College that 8 more people are positive. And I am sorry to inform you again that all 8 persons have visited Nizamuddin Markaz. So as of now, the positive cases in Assam go up to 13. Yesterday evening, it was zero. We got one person from Markaz from Barak Valley. Today morning, we got 4 persons from Markaz from Lower Assam. Just now, I got a report from 8 more from Upper Assam. All are connected to Markaz. We tested not less than 500 persons. And everybody’s report was negative.”
He added, “But yesterday morning, we got information from the Central government that 456 persons have visited Nizamuddin Markaz. We started tracing them and yesterday evening itself, we brought 196 persons to hospital and we tested. Today, we got 13 positive. While we were tracing 456 people, additional information has come that actually more people were in the Markaz. And now our target group has increased to 556. And no one has declared. I am very angry because we have repeatedly requested everybody that whoever has come from Delhi or other states, please inform us. We will give you a home quarantine. We will give you a hotel quarantine. Still, these people did not disclose. Today, I am a very frustrated person.”
“As of now, clearly 193 people are hiding. They are not disclosing still. We have given helpline number that yes you can call 104- we will treat you well, we will take you to the hospital and we will test you. There is no stigma associated with the disease. After 28 days, you will be alright. The CM has given appeal. Yesterday, I addressed a press conference. I appeal to everybody- please come out. Join hands with us. We have to fight together. Why you are not disclosing? By hiding, you are destroying your family, you are affecting your parents, you are affecting the villagers and you are destroying the entire state,” the Assam Health Minister lamented.
The controversy erupted when 24 people who had attended the religious congregation at Markaz Nizamuddin in Mid-March tested positive for COVID-19. Thousands of people who participated in the event travelled to various states in India, risking the spread of the novel Coronavirus. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, 1746 individuals including 216 foreigners were staying in the Markaz building as of March 21. On Tuesday, the Delhi Police registered a case against Maulana Saad and other officials of Tablighi Jamaat for violating the restriction pertaining to a religious gathering. Sources reveal that Maulana Saad, chief of the Markaz Nizamuddin is not traceable since March 28 when he received a police notice.