Issuing the first statement on Thursday on behalf of Nizamuddin Markaz Tablighi Jamaat's chief Maulana Saad, his lawyer said that he has not gone underground and urged the attendees to help the administration. Tablighi Jamaat had in mid-March organised the Markaz event in Delhi's Nizamuddin mosque and hosted around 2000 people amid Coronavirus outbreak. The Nizamuddin West area emerged as a hotspot of COVID 19 spread, days 24 people who attended the congregation tested positive, leading to a nationwide tracing of the attendees.
In a video statement, Saad's lawyer Musharraf Ali said that people need to fight the epidemic without creating religious divisions. He added that everyone is required the follow the guidelines issued by the government, adding that they should neither go to masjid (mosque) nor mandir (temple).
Quashing conspiracy allegations against Tablighi Jamaat, he said: "These are not correct news about Tablighi Jamaat. We told the truth to the people. Whatever were our drawbacks is a different topic, but the country knows how Tablighi Jammat functions. I request wherever you are - people related to Jammat, if you are in any mosque across India, go and report, help the administration. Police are trying to trace you, you are not required to misbehave with them. It is our duty to inform them, write it and hand it over to the Police to the Doctor. Don't be afraid. This disease is a threat to you and your family."
Regarding Markaz event that has increased the spread of the novel virus, Maulana Saad's lawyer said that Notice has been issued on April 1 to Maulana Saad and FIR has been filed. He said that Maulana Saad will give a response as soon as possible.
"This is a different topic if violations and safety measure were taken or not. Tablighi Jamaat people are not required to reply to it. Saad Sahab is not untraceable. He has received the notice so how can you say he is missing? he is preparing an answer, he will reply as soon as possible."
Earlier on Thursday, Delhi Police sources said that Maulana Saad Police Notice was sent to him on March 28 after which he fled. Police also added that he has been communicated to him to undergo a medical examination as he is a suspect for the Coronavirus, as are all the attendees of the meeting. The cases in India witnessed a sharp rise after the Markaz attendees were traced and tested in different parts of the country.
The Markaz chief Saad had allegedly in his sermon urged Muslims to defy lockdown and come out to pray together to break the COVID-19 “curse”. He termed the pandemic as a 'conspiracy to separate Muslims and make them untouchable' but also added that those who have been detected with Coronavirus have to be quarantined.
A religious program was organized at Tablighi Jamaat's headquarters Markaz Nizamuddin mosque between 13-15 March which was attended by over three thousand people, from India and abroad, who since dispersed. After attending the meeting, which took place prior to the nationwide lockdown, many of the attendees returned to other parts of the country.
A case was registered by the Delhi Police against Maulana Saad and other attendees of the congregation by Tablighi Jamaat for violating the restriction pertaining to religious gatherings. 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.