I felt both sadness and anger when I showed in 'Aaj Ki Baat' last night the speech of the chief of Tablighi Jamaat Maulana Saad Kandhlavi, in which he was exhorting his followers at the gathering in Nizamuddin Markaz, not to follow the doctors' advice to maintain distancing. This flies in the face of the claim by Tablighi Jamaat that they had taken precautions during the event which was pre-scheduled.
First, the speech: On March 19, addressing the gathering for 42 minutes, Maulana Saad said, 'even if you fear that you will die if you congregate in mosques, know this: there is no better place to die than a mosque.'
The Maulana knew that the doctors had advised social distancing, but he told the gathering: 'we will accept the advice of only those doctors who have faith in Allah. Even if those doctors advise not to congregate inside mosques, we shall not accept.' He went on say, 'they have put fear in your minds because you read newspapers and not the Holy Quran.'
Clearly the Tablighi Jamaat chief was inciting people not to accept government guidelines for social distancing. The result was: nearly two thousand followers went out in groups across the length and breadth of the country and spread the dreaded virus.
More than 450 people now have virus symptoms, 24 persons staying at the Markaz were found positive, so far 10 people have died of virus after coming into contact with the followers, and right now, a nationwide hunt is on to track the thousands of followers who dispersed from the congregation.
According to official reports, there are presently 824 maulanas from this Jamaat spread in 12 states. Most of them have visited Malaysia, Indonesia. The break-up: 50 in Karnataka, 70 in West Bengal, 132 in UP, 38 in Jharkhand, 115 in Haryana, 11 in Odisha, 49 in MP and 13 in Rajasthan. Kindly note, these maulanas are separate from those 300-plus foreigner maulanas who attended the religious gathering from March 13 to 15 in Nizamuddin.
The Tablighi Jamaat claims it was a routine gathering, but they are overlooking the fact that the Delhi government had on March 13 banned all types of gatherings of more than 200 people. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said that 24 out of 97 corona positive cases were from Nizamuddin. More than 1,000 people had to be shifted to quarantine shelters in Delhi.
I have now no hesitation in saying that Maulana Saad is culpable and guilty of spreading the coronavirus by openly defying the guidelines and exhorting his followers to spread out across the country, thereby spreading the virus. It is now a Herculean task to trace each and every person who came in contact with these followers.
It is because of Maulana Saad that the near and dear ones of Coronavirus victims are suffering today. The followers of Allah were forced to attend the gathering in the name of Allah. The Jamaat and its chief are responsible for spreading the virus across the country. They made Delhi one of the major hotspots of Coronavirus, intentionally.
This is a crime against the country. While watching the videos, I was surprised to see the virus suspects spitting on the road from the buses which had been brought to take them away for quarantine. Spitting on the road by such people can spread the virus, and I guess, these people knew this too. Action must be taken against the Jamaat and its Chief.
I want to ask the Tablighi Jamaat leaders a question: If the Holy Kaaba, Mecca and Madina mosques, Vatican City, Vaishno Devi, Tirupati, Siddhivinayak, Somnath and Kashi Vishwanath temples can be closed for Coronavirus, what prompted them to organize a massive gathering in the name of Islam and Allah? At a time when mosques in India stopped outsiders from offering namaaz, gurudwaras stopped outsiders from coming to offer Ardas, temples stopped devotees from coming inside, what prompted the Jamaat to commit this crime in the name of religion?
It would be wrong to say that all Muslim moulvis are not supporting the government in its fight against Corona. Most of the Maulanas have openly stood with our Prime Minister in this war, and it would be incorrect to allege that Muslims as a community are not following social distancing guidelines. We should not forget that maulanas had issued appeals asking devotees not to gather in large numbers to offer namaaz in mosques last Friday across India. And no one crowded mosques. This gives us hope that we are all united in our fight against Corona. Win we will.
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