About 1,500 Muslims from Tamil Nadu, who attended a Tablighi Jamaat conference in Nizamuddin, Delhi, are now suspected carriers of the dreaded novel coronavirus according to the health authorities of Tamil Nadu. They say these 1,500 people — although only a small group out of these people came back to Tamil Nadu — could have spread the infection to others they have come in touch with. In fact, of the 17 suspects that they tested, 16 indeed turned out to be patients of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). But the issue is not confined to Tamil Nadu alone.
One Tablighi man comes from Indonesia, spreads disease, dies
According to sources, one man associated with the Tablighi Jamaat who spread the virus everywhere around, knowingly or unwittingly, was Mohammed Ashraf Anim who flew in from Indonesia to Delhi in early March. In the capital, he had organised a gathering of 800 odd people associated with the jamaat at Nizamuddin. In recognition of his work, the Tablighi Jamaat made him their head for the Jammu sector.
Ashraf Anim organised similar gatherings in Srinagar, Samba, Bathinda and some other places in the union territory.
Ashraf Anim (65) died on 24 March. He was a resident of Shah Anwar Colony of Hyderpora in Srinagar.
Foreigners associated with Tablighi Jamaat aggravate situation
In a development that could bring in infections of catastrophic proportions, about 2,100 foreign nationals had visited the Tablighi Jamaat headquarters this year. Out of them, 824 then spread out to different states.
An officer from the security establishment told Sirf News that the state-wise break-up of these Muslim versions of evangelists is as follows:
|Andhra Pradesh: 62|
Uttar Pradesh: 120
Madhya Pradesh: 25
Tamil Nadu: 83
West Bengal: 26
Tamil Nadu, other states on a lookout for COVID ‘bombs’
As for the assembly in Nizamuddin of Delhi, of those who returned to Tamil Nadu, suspect-to-confirmed cases is alarmingly high. Out of the 16 of 17 who have tested positive, 14 hail from one district: Erode. The health authorities now understand why there has been a spurt in the number of COVID cases in Erode.
From the lot from Tamil Nadu, eight people who had tested positive yesterday (29 March), four are from Erode. They are aged 47-50 years. They are now admitted in the IRT Medical College and Hospital of Perundurai.
What makes the cases even more worrisome is the fact that the Tamil Nadu health department does not have the list of all the 1,500 people who attended the Tablighi Jamaat (translated: Assembly for Conversion to Islam). As of now, the authorities have a list of 819 names. They will be tested and segregated depending on the result but the fate of people they contacted during and since their return from Delhi will remain unknown.
Muslims from Tiruchi, Perambalur, Ariyalur, Erode, Pudukottai and Nagapattinam of Tamil Nadu were among those who attended the meeting and probably contracted COVID.
The police forces of different states are now trying to locate the remaining 681 people from the gathering of 1,500.
While the state governments have appealed to the Tablighi Jamaat to disclose the whereabouts of all its members who attended the different conferences this year, the community has not cooperated so far, risking their own lives as well as of those they have come in touch with.
“We have to monitor everyone in the group now, given the current situation and appeal to everyone who attended the conference to volunteer information. We want to prevent an explosion of cases,” an official told The Hindu.