Amid Nizamuddin Markaz-linked coronavirus cases rising nationwide, NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday has said that it should have been postponed. He added that even as the country is fighting the deadly coronavirus, Markaz is creating a huge impact as it has increased the spread. The NCP chief also said that 90% of the population adheres to the regulations whereas only 10% can be seen loitering. He appealed to doctors to not close their clinics and OPDs amid the scare. Maharashtra has so far reported 335 cases, 39 have recovered while 14 deaths have been reported.
Meanwhile, sources said that Maulana Saad, the chief of Tablighi Jamaat who organised the Nizamuddin Markaz event in Delhi and hosted around 2000 people in mid- March amid Coronavirus outbreak, will brief media at 4 PM. Though still untraceable, sources said that he may be picked up by Police by the evening or may release a video of him stating that he has home quarantined himself. 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.
As per sources, Maulana Saad had received a Police Notice on March 28 after which he fled and continues to remain untraceable. Delhi Police sources said that raids are being conducted at his possible hideouts. 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.
The mosque, meanwhile, claimed that while they were letting small groups of attendees leave from the venue prior to the Janta Curfew, several were stuck in the area – which has now been entirely quarantined – owing to the nationwide lockdown. Regardless, Delhi DyCM Sisodia has confirmed that over a thousand attendees have been tracked down, and over 600 have shown symptoms, indicating the scope of the threat.