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Authorities Didn't Act on Complaints against Gathering at Markaz, Say Nizamuddin West Residents

Men wearing protective masks wait for a bus that will take them to a quarantine facility, amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Nizamuddin area of New Delhi, India, March 31, 2020. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Men wearing protective masks wait for a bus that will take them to a quarantine facility, amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Nizamuddin area of New Delhi, India, March 31, 2020. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Of the 2,000-odd people, including foreigners, who gathered at the Islamic religious centre earlier this month, 24 have tested positive for COVID-19, according to officials.

  • PTI
  • Last Updated: March 31, 2020, 7:25 PM IST
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New Delhi: Some residents of Nizamuddin West on Tuesday accused the civil and police administrations of not heeding their complaints about a large number of people converging at the Tablighi Jamaat Markaz amid the coronavirus outbreak, after the Delhi locality was identified as a hotspot of COVID-19.

Of the 2,000-odd people, including foreigners, who gathered at the Islamic religious centre earlier this month, 24 have tested positive for COVID-19, according to officials.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said 700 people who attended this congregation have been quarantined while around 335 people have been admitted to hospitals.

Sheikh Mohammad Umar, the secretary of Nizamuddin West Resident Welfare Association, claimed the RWA had brought the issue to the notice of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate concerned, local police and South Delhi Municipal Corporation, but "nothing happened".


Umar said despite writing several letters to the police and the administration, "no security has been provided to the colony, which shares its boundary with the markaz".


Congress leader and former municipal councilor of the area Farhad Suri, however, said the congregation took place before the government announced the lockdown.

"How can you allow 300 foreigners enter India when the entire world is reeling under the coronavirus outbreak? It is the responsibility of the central government to stop them," he said.


A resident of Nizamuddin West said despite knowing that people from all over the world gather there, the administration did not issue any advisory.

Asked if people continued to throng the markaz despite the Delhi government issuing an order banning large gatherings, he said, "Neither the administration nor the police stopped them... They swung into action when a preacher, who had attended the gathering, died in Srinagar due to coronavirus."


"There is nothing the government could have done about it. It happened way before the Delhi government issued any advisory or they started screening passengers at the airports," another resident said.


"What they could have done is that before announcing the lockdown, the people inside the markaz could have been evacuated," he said.

The residents complained that the police are yet to act strict in the area and a large number of people could be seen roaming around without a reason.


"Time and again, we brought to the notice of the administration and the police that a large number of people gather at the markaz regularly, but they did not pay attention to it," another local said.


"People are still roaming around without a reason. On Monday, I saw a group of around 20-25 men playing cricket in the Nizamuddin Basti area," he said.


Markaz Nizamuddin, which is the international headquarters of Tabilghi Jamaat for close to 100 years, in a statement said when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the 'Janata Curfew' on March 22, they discontinued the ongoing programme immediately, but a large number of people were stuck in the premises due to the closure of railway services on March 21.


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