The Tablighi Jamaat conference has spelt a death knell for India’s vigorous fight against the novel Coronavirus pandemic. Till the 29th, India was serving as an inspiration to the world in the fight against the Chinese virus, however, many fear a doomsday like scenario, since the sheer numbers which have emerged out of Nizamuddin are mind-numbing.
The Tablighi Jamaat has its global centre at Nizamuddin. Throughout the year, preachers affiliated to the radically-Wahhabi organization come to Nizamuddin, however, from March 8th this year, they were arriving in magnanimous numbers for attending a conference. Sources indicate that close to 8000 people from across the country, and the world, may have come to the Markaz at Nizamuddin.
While it is bare minimum decency to cooperate with the administration in such trying times, the Markaz decided to be at its regular best – with its officials not extending any courtesies to the authorities who were for some strange reason, ‘pleading’ them to vacate the 6-story building.
A Hindustan Times report states that such was the attitude of the clerics at the Markaz, that the National Security Advisor himself had to be deputed at 2 am on the night of 28-29th March by Amit Shah to sort things out with the now-infamous Maulana Saad. Ajit Doval is known to have cordial relations with almost all ulemas, and therefore, he was assigned the task to convince the clerics to allow screening of all preachers at the Markaz, after it is vacated by them. Being the man he is, the NSA only got out after ensuring that the job was done.
It was on 29th that the Markaz began to be vacated. Contrary to the claims of the clerics that there were about 1000 people inside the Markaz as of 23rd March, Delhi Police has now revealed that 2100 people have been vacated and moved to quarantine facilities. It must be mentioned that Nizamuddin was on the MHA’s radar since the 18th of March, after Indonesian preachers were found in Telangana, after they attended the Jamaat at Nizamuddin.
This number is exclusive of the preachers who left the Markaz before the nationwide lockdown was announced. The central and state governments are in for an extremely tumultuous task of tracing these individuals, and then tracing the people they came in contact with. It’s a nightmare, to say the least.
However, what led to a conference at Nizamuddin becoming a nationwide nightmare, with its tremors being felt from Kashmir to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and from Assam to Maharashtra? For one, it cannot be denied that the authorities were extremely lackadaisical and lenient with the Markaz officials. Secondly, the Markaz and the Tablighi Jamaat have nobody but themselves to blame for this epic mess they have put a nation of 1.3 billion people in.
The Tablighi Jamaat aims at proselytization, and as a subsidiary aim, also strives to make Muslims live a life akin to that of the Prophet. It is a radical Wahhabi organization, and has close links to terror organizations. As a matter of fact, the founders of Harkat-Ul-Mujahideen were members of the Tablighi Jamaat.
From its global centre at Nizamuddin, preachers are deputed across the nation for sermonizing ‘lesser mortals’ with the ideals of sunnat. This is what is causing the nationwide scare. While 2100 people have been vacated from the Markaz at Nizamuddin, the magnitude of people who left before the lockdown came into force is what is sending shivers down the spines of authorities, and people at large. For all we know, these super spreaders can be just anywhere in the country. And so when the officials of the Markaz say that they have no idea where the preachers who left before 24th are, rest assured, they are lying through their teeth. Further, on 23rd March, 1200 preachers were escorted by the police to the airport. On the same day, 1500 others entered the Markaz during the evening. 216 foreign nationals have been vacated from the Markaz, and 800 others are on the loose across the country, the Home Ministry revealed. We are not even yet talking about the number of Indian preachers who have to be traced simultaneously, a number which would be in thousands.
As much as the Markaz and clerics would want to make a puppy face and portray themselves as victims of a nationwide lockdown, nobody is willing to buy their arguments, except of course, the usual online closet Islamists. On April 13th, the Delhi Government prohibited all conferences and seminars, and restricted gatherings to not more than 200 people. On April 16th, only gatherings of 50 people were allowed to take place, which was further brought down on April 19th to 20 people. The Markaz, meanwhile, flouted all these prohibitions and continued to house thousands of people under its shelter. The global scare against Coronavirus has been at its peak for quite some time, and the ignoramuses of the Markaz simply cannot say that they did not anticipate such a severe outbreak in India. Schools and Colleges were being shut across the country. The clerics need to be idiots of the highest order to think that the threat to them was ‘minimal’.
But again, Maulana Saad, the chief of the Nizamuddin Markaz was heard making clarion calls against the nationwide lockdown. He was heard saying, “How can any doctor save someone from a disease if seventy thousand farishtey (angels) cannot save them?”. Further, he also said that ‘social distancing’ was a conspiracy against Muslims, to alienate them from one another so as to weaken the community from within. The Maulana went on to opine that new diseases are spreading across the world because of the many sins which have developed across the world. Throughout the discourse, people from the Jamaat can be heard coughing in the background. The Maulana is now absconding, Delhi Police sources say.
A video accessed by ANI yesterday showed how clerics of the Markaz were brought to a police station and were being convinced to follow the lockdown guidelines and vacate the building by a police officer. Throughout the video, the clerics can be seen slyly contending the requests of the officer, apart from lying about the number of people present at the Markaz. Despite this, the Markaz was not evacuated, as a result of which NSA Ajit Doval had to take matters in his own hands.
The Tablighi Jamaat cannot shirk responsibility from the potential outbreak that the country faces because of them. Continuous flouting of rules and absolute indifference towards the pandemic makes the organization complicit in potentially effectuating multiple fatalities, from Telangana to Srinagar to Delhi. The organization must be made to face the harshest face of law for their callousness, and resulting catastrophe which they have caused for India. They have mirrored the acts of Sri Petaling Mosque of Kuala Lumpur, where a congregation of 16,000 Tablighi Jamaati’s triggered an outbreak in the entire South-East Asia.
We cannot change what has happened. What we can do is prevent such a Coronavirus hotspot from taking shape again. Meanwhile, Tablighi Jamat must be banned. They cannot go about their usual business after threatening the lives of 1.3 billion people.