Nizamuddin Markaz Denies Violating Law As Many Contract COVID-19

Several who took part in a religious congregation at Markaz Nizamuddin have contracted coronavirus.

3 min read
People from the Markaz building in Nizamuddin are being shifted to hospitals and quarantine centers.

Markaz Nizamuddin, the place where a religious congregation left several people affected with coronavirus, on Tuesday, 31 March, said it has not violated any provision of the law and offered its premises for setting up a quarantine facility.

Markaz Nizamuddin, which is the international headquarters of Tabilghi Jamaat for close to 100 years, will cooperate with the authorities, it said in a statement.

Delhi government on Tuesday said twenty-four people, who took part in a religious congregation at Markaz Nizamuddin earlier this month, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said "700 people who attended this congregation have been quarantined while around 335 people have been admitted to hospitals."

Besides, participants from across India, the congregation was attended by people from different countries, including Indonesia and Thailand.

The Markaz statement referred to the directive of the Delhi government to take legal action against the Markaz administration.

“During this entire episode, Markaz Nizamuddin never violated any provision of law, and always tried to act with compassion and reason towards the visitors who came to Delhi from different states. It did not let them violate the medical guidelines by thronging ISBTs or roaming on streets,”
Statement issued by Markaz

The statement said the Markaz would like to humbly offer the entire premises as a quarantine facility to help the authorities tide-over the challenge of current pandemic.

"Visitors/guests/devotees/worshippers from across the globe throng the place for pre-scheduled programmes and all the programmes are decided a year in advance in order to facilitate visitors from far-off places to plan their participation," it said.

The Markaz said when the Prime Minister announced the ''Janata Curfew'' on 22 March, the ongoing programme was discontinued immediately, but a large number of people were stuck in the premises due to the closure of railway services on 21 March.

The statement said the Markaz observed the ''Janata Curfew'' and the visitors stayed put in the premises.

“Before the Janta Curfew could be lifted at 9 pm, the Chief Minister of Delhi announced lockdown of Delhi beginning at 6 am on 23 March till 31 March, thereby further diminishing any chances of these visitors availing road transport for their journey back home,”
Statement issued by Markaz

The statement said around 1500 people left the Markaz on 23 March by "availing whatever meager transport was available".

On the evening of 23 March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide 21-day lockdown, the statement said, adding there was no option for Markaz Nizamuddin but to accommodate the stranded visitors with prescribed medical precautions.

On March 24, a notice was issued by SHO of the Hazrat Nizamuddin police station seeking closure of Markaz premises. The Markaz responded to the notice the same day by stating that around 1000 visitors belonging to different states and nationalities were present in Markaz while 1500 had left.

The Markaz had also requested the SDM of the area to issue vehicle passes so that the remaining people could be sent back to their native places outside of Delhi.

“It is relevant to indicate here that lists of 17 vehicles with registration numbers along with the names of the drivers plus their license details were submitted to the SDM so that the stranded visitors/guests could be ferried towards their destination. The requisite permission is still awaited,”
Markaz’s statement

It said on 27 March, six persons were taken for medical check-up while the next day, the SDM and WHO team visited the Markaz and 33 persons were taken for medical checkup to Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Hospital.

On 28 March, another notice was issued, by the Office of ACP, Lajpat Nagar, reiterating the prohibitory orders and warning of legal action, the statement said, adding, that "this being totally oblivious of the above deliberations and steps that had already been taken by Markaz in consultation with the authorities".

The Markaz said it replied to the second notice as well.

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