Time for Action, Not Fault Finding: Health Ministry on Nizamuddin

An urgent high-level meeting has been called at the Delhi CM’s residence.

3 min read
People wearing masks leave for hospital in a bus from Nizamuddin area, after several people showed symptoms of coronavirus following taking part in a religious gathering a few days ago, during the nationwide lockdown, in New Delhi, Monday, 30 March.

Responding to reports that a religious gathering at Delhi’s Nizamuddin Markaz Masjid contributed to the spread of the novel coronavirus in India, the Union health ministry said this was the time for action and not finding faults.

“With respect to the Nizamuddin area, we all need to understand and appreciate that this is not the time to do fault finding. What is important for us is to take action as per our containment process in whatever areas we find a case,” Lav Aggarwal, joint secretary, health ministry said.

At least 24 people who attended the gathering have been found to be positive for the novel coronavirus, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain told ANI on Tuesday, 31 March.

Makraz Nizamuddin – the Delhi headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat – has been accused of violating quarantine protocol amid nationwide lockdown due to coronavirus outbreak.

"So far 24 people staying there have been found to be coronavirus positive," said Jain. At least six people who attended the congregation by the Jamaat have succumbed to the novel coronavirus in Telangana on Monday.

Over 2,000 delegates, including from Indonesia and Malaysia, had attended the Tabligi Jamaat congregation in Nizamuddin West from 8-15 March.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has ordered that an FIR be filed against the cleric who was leading the congregation.

Screening of All Attendees Underway, Locality Cordoned Off

Talking to reporters at his residence, Jain said that 1,033 people have been shifted to various places.

“700 people who attended this congregation have been quarantined while around 335 people have been admitted to hospitals,” said Jain, adding that screening of all those who participated in the event is being conducted by the government.

“Event’s organisers committed a grave crime. Disaster Act & Contagious Diseases Act was enforced in Delhi, no assembly of more than 5 people was allowed. Still they did this. I’ve written to Lt Governor to take strictest action against them. Delhi goverment has given order to file FIR.”
Satyendar Jain, Delhi Health Minister.

Early this morning, the Markaz Nizamuddin was sealed. According to ANI, a team of South Municipal Corporation of Delhi has been called to sanitise the entire area. The medical team and administration officials are present at the spot are allowing people to be shifted to hospitals after noting down their name, address, contact number and date of their arrival in the national capital.

"With the help of the Health Department around 860 people have been shifted from Markaz building, Nizamuddin to hospitals. Around 300 more people are yet to be evacuated." ANI quoted Delhi Police as saying.

A high-level meeting was held at the residence of Delhi Kejriwal on the issue in the presence of Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, Health Minister Satyendar Jain and other officials, ANI reported.

What Markaz Nizamuddin Administration Says

The mosque administration on Tuesday, 31 March, clarified that it had tried to comply with the order and had sought the government’s help in ferrying the large group of visitors who were stuck at the markaz (centre) due to the suspension of passenger train operations till 31 March.

ANI quoted the statement by Markaz as saying, "On 24 March, a notice was issued by SHO PS Hazrat Nizamuddin, seeking closure of Markaz premises. It was responded on 24 March, stating that compliance of directions regarding closure of Markaz is underway and around 1,500 people had departed the previous day. Thus leaving around 1,000 visitors of different states and nationalities in Markaz."

The statement added, "It was also informed that Ld SDM concerned had been requested to issue vehicle passes so that remaining people could be sent back to their native places outside of Delhi."

“List of 17 vehicles with registration numbers along with names of drivers plus their licence details were submitted to Ld SDM so that stranded visitors/guests could be ferried towards their destination. The requisite permission is still awaited.”

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