Tablighi Jamaat has had a layer of shocks prepared for us- you somehow get over one and they are ready with the next one. In the latest set of such shocks, it has been reported that a religious congregation of Tablighi missionaries similar to the one held in South Delhi’s Nizamuddin, was organised in Bihar’s Nalanda.
This gathering was attended by more than 600 Tablighis. Out of the 640, Tablighi Jamaat missionaries who attended the congregation, only 277 have been identified and quarantined till now, while another 363 are still missing.
The Tablighi Jamaat gathering in Delhi had become the biggest COVID-19 hotspot in the country in no time, and its repercussions were felt across every single part of the country from Arunachal Pradesh and Assam in the Northeast to Kashmir in the North to Maharashtra in the West, and Telangana and Tamil Nadu down South.
The Tablighi Jamaat gathering in Delhi showed us how religious gatherings can create the biggest of Coronavirus clusters, and in this sense Bihar might be sitting on a ticking time bomb.
The Tablighi Jamaat gathering was held at a Nalanda Markaz in Bihar from March 14 to 15. Though the whereabouts of the 363 missing Tablighis are still not known, the state of Bihar could be at risk of these 363 Tablighis spreading the virus all over the state. If that were to happen, Bihar could easily become India’s very own Hubei.
Meanwhile, Bihar Rural Development Minister Shravan Kumar has said, “The Nalanda district administration is taking action towards the issue of Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Bihar Sharif. The officials are working to get the details.”
He added, “All those who have gathered should come out and get tested. I request people who attended the congregation to come forward and have a medical check-up – this the only way to combat COVID-19.”
What makes matters worse for Bihar is the fact that the state has been on the target of Islamist radicals. Only a week ago, there were reports of a Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) alert about how Indian Muslims working in different Muslim countries could be trying to enter the Indian state of Bihar via the Nepal Border.
Tablighi Jamaat has a horrifying track record when it comes to spreading the Chinese virus, right from the Sri Petaling Mosque gathering in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia that triggered a Coronavirus outbreak in Southeast Asia to the Raiwind Ijtema in Lahore, Pakistan that caused a spike in COVID-19 cases in the Islamic Republic and finally the Nizamuddin Markaz event that shot up the Wuhan virus cases across India.
What this also hints at is a coverup by the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar, given that the information of the Tablighi Jamaat gathering has come out more than a month after it was held.
The Nitish Kumar government has been far from impressive when it comes to handling the Coronavirus outbreak anyway, and reports of a mass Tablighi Jamaat gathering in Nalanda especially when the revivalist Islamic group has been spreading virus across the country would have seriously dented the Bihar CM’s carefully crafted “Susashan Babu” image.
JD (U) supremo Nitish Kumar doesn’t have a very good image when it comes to handling disasters- the Japanese Encephalitis outbreak, floods and the Dengue outbreak, all of them being glaring examples of Nitish Kumar’s gross inefficiency in dealing with disasters that have hit the state in recent memory.
Nitish Kumar has a good hold over the local media, and it is very much possible that the reports of the Tablighi Jamaat gathering were delayed with an eye on the upcoming Bihar Legislative Assembly polls likely to be held in October 2020.
Now, with 363 potential Tablighi Super Spreaders roaming around in Bihar, the state seems to be sitting on a ticking time bomb, which can easily cause a huge outbreak given the ways of the Tablighi Jamaat that are for everyone to see- going into hiding, spitting at doctors and nurses, and unhygienic rituals prolific for spreading an infection at an exponential rate.