As the number of coronavirus-positive cases related the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi continued to rise, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind moved the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Centre to stop dissemination of "fake news" and take strict action against a section of the media for spreading communal hatred and bigotry.
The plea filed by Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind and the secretary of its legal cell, through lawyer Ejaz Maqbool, contended that the unfortunate incident of the Tablighi Jamaat was being used to "demonise" and blame the entire Muslim community.
At least 9,000 people had participated in the religious gathering at Tablighi Jamaat's headquarters in Nizamuddin West last month. The congregation became a key source for the spread of COVID-19 in India as many of the participants travelled to various parts of the country for missionary works.
Of the over 4,000 cases of coronavirus in the country, at least 1,445 have been found to be linked to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi, the Union health ministry said on Monday.
The plea has sought directions to the Centre to stop dissemination of fake news and take strict action against the section of the media spreading bigotry and communal hatred in relation to the Nizamuddin Markaz issue.
In addition to this, there are several fake reports and videos circulating on social media, showing Muslims in bad light, the plea contended.
"It is submitted that such reporting has triggered communal antagonism and has also perpetrated hatred, resulting in fissiparous tendencies gaining foothold, undermining and affecting communal harmony," the plea said.
The petition stated that this "demonisation" of the community has led to serious "threat to life and liberty of Muslims", and has thus led to the violation of their "right to life under Article 21" of the Constitution.
The petition has also sought direction to all sections of the media to strictly comply with the Supreme Court directions asking them to maintain strong sense of responsibility and ensure that unverified news is not disseminated.
(With inputs from PTI)