While India's 21-day lockdown to battle Coronavirus (COVID-19) is on, Republic TV on Tuesday has accessed a tape in which the chief of Tabliqi Jamaat chief Maulana Saad at Delhi’s Nizamuddin Dargah allegedly urged Muslims to defy lockdown and come out to pray together to break the COVID-19 “curse”. While the voice in the audio clip has not been verified as Saad’s, he urges that if 70,000 lives have been claimed by this pandemic, doctors will not be able to stop it. He terms the pandemic as a 'conspiracy to separate Muslims and make them untouchable' but also adds that those who have been detected with Coronavirus have to be quarantined..
"Can any doctors save you from this disease which has claimed 70,000 lives and turned them into angels? If Allah says that 70000 angels have been taken in his care then how can any power in the world do anything against this? This is not the time to spread fear or untouchability. This is not the time to listen to doctors and forego prayers. meeting each other. To remove this situation bring out all the women, children, animals. Remember, none of us can counter Allah’s will or nature," says the voice – presumably belonging to Saad.
He added, "Why have you believed that if we meet then the disease will spread? This is the time to come together and spread the word of Allah. The conspiracy of the non-believers is hindering Muslims from coming together. This plot comes in the guise of curing the disease, but it is just a scheme to stop Islam and Muslims and our ways. If Muslims believe in these things, then the disease will end but so will our brotherhood. They say don't sit next to each other, don't eat from one plate - this is a program to destroy Muslims' unity, separate Muslim from Muslim and bring in untouchability among us.."
Talking about those already affected by the disease, he said."There is nothing wrong with quarantining those who have already shown symptoms of the disease. But to say, Muslims should not meet with each other? This is oppression. Try to get everyone towards Allah and encourage them to focus on prayers."
On Monday, sources reported that a religious programme was organised at Tablighi Jamaat's headquarters Markaz Nizamuddin mosque between 13-15 March which had over 300 foreign attendees from Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Kyrgyzstan apart from hundreds from several states in India. After attending the meeting, prior to the nationwide lockdown, all these attendees returned to several parts of the country, possibly spreading the COVID-19 virus. On Sunday, around 50-70 people, who were hiding in a mosque, were taken to LNJP hospital as they were all COVID-19 suspects – 24 have tested positive. The mosque has 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.
Ministry of Home Affairs informed that 1746 individuals were staying in Delhi's Nizamuddin Markaz as of March 21 - 216 foreigners, 1530 Indians. Moreover, 824 foreigners who had spread out across the nation for various Tabligh Jamaat activities are currently being screened and quarantined, according to MHA. Apart from these individuals, MHA stated that 2137 persons have been identified in different states and have been quarantined, adding that the process of identifying is ongoing.
Currently, the Delhi Crime Branch has registered a case against Saad and others for defying the lockdown. The attendees from the even are spread all over namely - Karnataka: 64 quarantined, Tamil Nadu: 981 of 1500 attendees traced - 45 tested positive, Telangana: 1300 attendees with 6 deaths and 15 positive, Andhra Pradesh: 626 of the 806 attendees traced (8 have tested positive), Andaman: 9 out of 10 positive cases attendees, UP 157 attendees of which 14 quarantined, Jammu & Kashmir has identified 6 attendees. All states are doing contact tracing and quarantining all attendees. Currently, India's total COVID-19 cases stand at 1251 with 32 deaths.