Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi turns into a spreader of coronavirus

While Hindus closed down all temples across the country on their own, religious fanatics gathered in large numbers to pray, organise religious programmes, etc. Hence, there is a risk of spreading ‘Community infection’.

New Delhi – Government authorities are tackling a logistical nightmare as they try to map the movement of thousands of people who attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation end-February and early March in Nizamuddin (New Delhi) and then dispersed, many carrying the novel coronavirus to States across the length and breadth of India.

The Markaz (Centre), also known as Banglewali Masjid, is a six-storey building complex that can house up to 2,000 people. It is a national HQ of Tablighi Jamaat and shares its wall with the Nizamuddin Police station. It is adjacent to the famous shrine of Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya. The mosque adjoins Basti Nizamuddin, with a population of over 25,000.

Officials said over 2,000 delegates, including from Indonesia and Malaysia, attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation from 1st to 15th March.

Contact tracing has revealed that people from this gathering have travelled to Bihar, Telangana, Odisha and Karnataka. The initial coronavirus death in Jammu & Kashmir has also been traced to this gathering. The Union home ministry had banned all religious gatherings and ordered the closure of all religious places when a countrywide lockdown was announced on 23rd March to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Delhi Police officers said beginning 22nd March (the day of Janata Curfew) the Police teams stood outside the mosque and stopped people from gathering in the area. Until 22nd March, people from abroad and other States continued to come to the mosque. Outsiders were completely stopped from 22nd March.

Authorities believe several clerics from Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, who transited through the Tablighi Jamaat Markaz, may have been the original source of the infections in the cluster.

What is Tablighi Jamaat ?

Formed 93 years ago in India, the Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) means the ‘Society for Spreading Allah’s teachings’. Started as an offshoot of the Deobandi movement, TJ believes that Muslims are in a constant spiritual ‘Jihad’ fighting the evil using the weapon of proselytization. They believe the battles are won or lost in the ‘hearts of men’.