Monday, 30th October 2017

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Nizamuddin congregation scare

Several people who have tested positive for the coronavirus are said to have participated in the religious programme at Nizamuddin

By Imran Ahmed Siddiqui in New Delhi
  • Published 31.03.20, 3:53 AM
  • Updated 31.03.20, 3:53 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
People being taken to various hospitals from Nizamuddin in New Delhi on Monday. (PTI)

Over 200 people from the Nizamuddin area in New Delhi have been taken to different hospitals in the national capital after they developed coronavirus symptoms, sources in Delhi police said on Monday night.

The police said a religious congregation by Tablighi Jamaat preachers was organised near a mosque in Nizamuddin earlier this month before the lockdown.

(Late on Monday night, PTI quoted the Telangana government as saying six people from the state who attended the congregation in Nizamuddin have died of the coronavirus infection.)

The mosque, Alami Markaz Banglewali Masjid, is the headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat in New Delhi. Earlier this month, the Jamaat had hosted preachers from Indonesia, Malaysia and Kyrgyzstan and several parts of India.

“Earlier this month, 1,500 preachers attended the congregation and they were later joined by another 500 people. Out of the total 2000, around 280 are foreigners. Many of them are still living in the Markaz, and we are vacating the premises and sending them to quarantine centres,” said a police officer.

Several people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in parts of the country, including Jammu and Kashmir, are said to have participated in the religious programme at Nizamuddin.

On Friday, six persons were found to be infected with the virus on Andaman and Nicobar Islands. All of them had attended the religious programme. They had returned to Port Blair via Calcutta last Tuesday.

A day before (Thursday), a 65-year-old man from Kashmir, who had attended the congregation, died at a Srinagar hospital. Police said he had travelled back to Kashmir by train. Another participant at the religious programme, a 52-year-old man from Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, has tested positive.

Delhi police have cordoned off the area around the Alami Markaz Masjid where the religious programme was organised. The mosque is located near the Nizamuddin dargah (shrine).

“Drones are being used to ensure strict implementation of the lockdown orders,” said a police officer.

Over 200 people, he said, have been taken to different hospitals in Delhi. “All of them are said to have some symptoms of the virus and they were staying in the neighbourhood close to the mosque,” the official said.

The police said they had isolated the mosque and the adjacent building where the congregation had taken place from the rest of the Nizamuddin area. “We are assisting the health department in taking more people for check-ups,” said another officer.

“Around 400-500 people were part of the gathering. We were approached by the health department after they felt that some are showing symptoms related to Covid-19.”

Several medical teams, the officer said, have been working in the area for the past four-to-five days and taking samples. “Efforts are also on to track down participants who returned to their hometowns in other states after taking part in the religious congregation,” he said.

Nizamuddin area in south-east Delhi is densely populated. Many of the participants in the religious congregation had travelled all over India after the event got over on March 19.

“Many of them had dispersed in 20-30 buses. The religious teacher from Kashmir who died last week had visited a renowned Islamic seminary in Uttar Pradesh before returning to Srinagar,” the police officer said.

According to him, a report has been sent to the Union home ministry about the possibility of more people, who had came into contact of the religious teacher from Kashmir, having been infected with the virus.

The Delhi government has asked police to register an FIR against the maulana of the Markaz Masjid where the congregation had taken place.