While India’s fight against Coronavirus has intensified further even as Prime Minister Modi announced a 21-day lockdown yesterday, the country is suddenly confronted with a new kind of challenge- Islamic preachers from Coronavirus-hit countries, especially the South-east Asian nations, visiting India and residing/ hiding in Indian mosques. Given the manner in which COVID-19 has panned out across the country, Coronavirus can spread like a wildfire in the Indian Mosques. At least, four states have reported such instances of Islamic preachers visiting Indian Mosques which has created a major Coronavirus scare.
1. Tamil Nadu:
A latest case of twenty Muslim preachers- eight Myanmar Nationals and twelve Indonesian Nationals, creating a major Coronavirus scare has been reported from Ambur in the Vellore district of Tamil Nadu. The Islamic preachers have been taken into custody from Ambur and the twenty preachers were sent for medical examination on March 23.
But not just Ambur, only days ago it was reported that two Thai Islamic preachers of the Tablighi Jamaat- the same sect which has also been responsible for aggravating the COVID-19 outbreak in other regions as well, namely the Southeast Asian country of Malaysia and the southern state of Telangana in India, had tested positive for the Coronavirus.
The two who tested positive were part of a group of seven preachers who visited Tamil Nadu to teach at two Mosques- Sultanpet Markaz Masjid and Kollampalayam Masjid-E-Thaqva in the Erode district of Tamil Nadu. The group had landed in Delhi on March 6 and travelled to Erode in the Millennium Express on March 10, bringing the entire travel chain under risk of getting infected with the novel Wuhan virus. Until March 15, they also visited three mosques.
#CoronaAlert | திருப்பத்தூர் மாவட்டம் ஆம்பூரில் தங்கியுள்ள வெளிநாடுகளைச் சேர்ந்த 20 பேருக்கு மருத்துவ பரிசோதனை நடைபெற்று வருகிறது.#SunNews #CoronaOutbreak #Covid19india #Ambur #CoronaVirus pic.twitter.com/CZUBi2a9ty
— Sun News (@sunnewstamil) March 23, 2020
This South Indian state too was shaken by Indonesian Islamic preachers coming from the same Tablighi Jamaat as the two Thai Islamic preachers who have brought Tamil Nadu on the verge of a Coronavirus crisis. Ordinary prudence would have dictated that all religious congregations remain suspended in the backdrop of the Pandemic, but the Tablighi Jamaat organised the fateful four-day Muslim gathering from February 27 to March 1 at the Sri Petaling Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia attended by 16,000 people including 1,500 foreigners.
The said the four-day religious gathering has become the epicentre of the Coronavirus outbreak in Southeast Asia and its effect has spilt over to India as well, that is, the states of Tamil Nadu and Telangana where Islamic preachers visiting from Southeast Asian countries have carried the novel Wuhan virus.
A video had gone viral on social media in which Muslim foreign nationals being apprehended from a Patna Mosque in Bihar where they were hiding amidst the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak that has triggered a major public health emergency across India. The Police reached the spot and detained these foreign nationals only after the locals outraged about foreigners were being hidden in the Mosque in the backdrop of the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Later, it was reported that the twelve people detained from the Patna Mosque included ten Kyrgyzstan nationals. Six of those detained from the Mosque have tested negative, while the test results of the other six are being awaited.
Few kms away from my house Patna police hv detained 12 foreign nationals who had hidden in the mosque with the help of locals to evade coronavirus testing. Similarly a 38yr old Saif Ali who tested positive, passed away. He had come to Bihar from Qatar.#COVIDIOTS #Covid_19india pic.twitter.com/AWJCS4onG8
— Gautam Vats 🇮🇳 (@jhagautam333) March 23, 2020
In another shocking event, eleven maulvis coming from the Coronavirus-affected countries of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and even China where the novel infection originated, have been detained from a Mosque near Rargaon village in Ranchi district’s Tamar, Jharkhand. The eleven foreigner maulvis have now been quarantined at Musabani Police Training Centre. Not a single Coronavirus case has been recorded from the state of Jharkhand till now, but with reports of the eleven foreigner maulvis getting detained, the naxal-hit state suddenly faces the threat of getting infected with the China-made Wuhan virus.
There is suddenly a spurt in the cases of maulvis and Islamic preachers hiding at Indian Mosques amidst the Coronavirus outbreak across the world. It is very much possible that they are being hidden because of visa violations such as proselytization in the garb of tourist visa. And then it is anyway pretty easy to get away with such cases by organising anti-CAA, anti-NRC protests and ridicule Prime Minister Modi, if the authorities crack down upon such cases of foreign nationals being illegally harboured in India.
But why are such cases coming up especially in the background of the Coronavirus Pandemic? It seems that locals are colluding with the foreign nationals so that the latter don’t have to go through quarantines. And this is very we need to be very careful, as foreign radical elements and potential violators can easily spread the novel Wuhan virus at an exponential rate.
India is therefore facing a major Coronavirus scare from the Islamic preachers belonging to Southeast Asian countries visiting Indian mosques. Imagine how they can hold religious gatherings and sermons at the Mosques amidst the Coronavirus outbreak. A single infected preacher coming into contact with others at the Mosques can create a major disaster- triggering a long chain similar to ‘Patient 31’ in South Korea. Therefore, the presence of Southeast Asian Islamic preachers is a major catastrophe-in waiting.