While the Ministry of Home Affairs and various state governments are tracing the thousands of attendees of the Nizamuddin Markaz event in Delhi, Delhi police have released a video on Tuesday, in which the Nizamuddin Station House Officer (SHO) Mukesh Walia is seen issuing a notice to the Markaz organisers on March 23. In the video, the SHO is seen warning the Markaz clerics of repeated violations and stating that 1500-2000 people are gathered in the area inspite of warnings. Stating that the ban on mass gatherings was for their own safety, he states that he would be forced to take action against the organisers.
"Inspite of many warnings, there are always 1500-2000 people gathered in Markaz. There are clear instructions to not have more than 5 people gathered and all religious places are shut. This is for your safety," he said.
He added," Though we have warned you several times, this problem is not being solved. Hence, I am giving you a notice in the name of Maulana Saad. If there are any more violations from your side, then I will be forced to take very strict legal action."
Moreover, the clerics are seen agreeing to the SHO's reasoning about their safety. When the SHO asks how many people are at Markaz now, the clerics are seen telling, "We have sent 1500 people from here. 1000 people are there now." When the SHO asks, "Where are they from?", they are seen replying, "All are from outside Delhi - Bijnor, Banaras, etc. They want to go back, but all borders are closed - so what can they do?".The SHO then suggests them to contact the SDM regarding the stranded 1000 people's travel and offers to provide the officer's number.
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 3400 attendees from Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Kyrgyzstan and from several states in India. After attending the meeting, prior to the nationwide lockdown, 1500 of 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. While 1339 Tabligh Jamaat workers are being screened and quarantined, the government has banned all their tourist visas for violating conditions. Apart from these individuals, MHA stated that 2137 persons have been identified in different states. Currently, the Delhi Crime Branch has registered a case against Nizamuddin Markaz chief Maulana Saad and others for defying the lockdown.