AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh on Tuesday raised questions on how foreign nationals were allowed to attend the religious congregation at the Markaz Nizamuddin without getting screened for the novel coronavirus or quarantined. He alleged that this constituted “gross negligence” on the part of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the Ministry of External Affairs and the Delhi Police. Moreover, he cried foul over the directives issued by the Delhi government on March 13, 16, 19 and 21 being ignored.
A controversy erupted when a religious congregation was held at Markaz Nizamuddin, the Tablighi Jamaat international headquarters in mid-March defying the social distancing norms. As per the Delhi government, this was in violation of the prevailing orders, which prohibited large gatherings. Earlier in the day, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain confirmed that 24 people who were at the Tablighi Jamaat congregation tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal directed an FIR to be registered against the organizers of the religious congregation. However, the Markaz claimed that it had not flouted the rules and discontinued the religious function after the announcement of the nationwide lockdown. Instead, it alleged that many of the attendees were stuck due to the unavailability of transport services.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, 1746 individuals including 216 foreigners were staying in the Markaz building as of March 21. After the MHA's advisory on March 28, the police personnel in different states identified 2,137 persons associated with the Tablighi Jamaat in order to screen them for the novel coronavirus and quarantine them. Meanwhile, the MHA revealed that 1203 Tablighi Jamaat workers in the Markaz Nizamuddin have been medically screened since March 26 out of which 303 symptomatic patients have been referred to different hospitals. On the other hand, the remaining people have been sent to quarantine centres in Narela, Bakkarwala and Sultanpuri.
As of March 21, there were about 1,746 persons staying in Hazrat, Nizamuddin Markaz. Of these, 216 were foreigners & 1530 were Indians. Additionally, about 824 foreigners had been, as on March 21, doing Tableegh activities in various parts of the country: Ministry of Home Affairs pic.twitter.com/Xem7WvS100— ANI (@ANI) March 31, 2020