Markaz Can’t Be Held Responsible for COVID Spread: Tablighi Chief
The leader said that only a few members from the congregation have tested positive for the infection.
Maulana Saad, the chief of Tablighi Jamaat, the religious congregation that was held in Delhi’s Markaz building that emerged as the biggest COVID-19 hotspot, told Hindustan Times that he is willing to cooperate with the police and that the Markaz is not responsible for the spread of the infection.
“Only a few members who attended the Jamaat have tested positive for coronavirus. How does that make Markaz responsible for the pandemic? There are certain questions that need to be answered. From the time the first case was reported in India, how many gatherings took place from late February till March? Should they also be held responsible?” Maulana Saad told Hindustan Times.
The Tablighi chief also said that this congregation was pre-scheduled in March and people had already started arriving from places across the globe. “It was too late to cancel the event and things were pretty much normal till mid-March. We discontinued the event as soon as the Janata Curfew was imposed,” he said.
As far as the accusations against Saad about not cooperating with the police investigation, he said that they are baseless. “We have replied to all the notices sent by the Delhi Police. Also, I was in self-quarantine and the cops knew of my whereabouts. I even addressed the Tablighi members and asked them to cooperate.”
An FIR had been registered against Maulana Saad over allegations of encouraging people to gather at Markaz Nizamuddin. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has also filed a money laundering case against Maulana Saad, trusts liked to the Jamaat and others.
On Monday, 20 April, Maulana Saad urged the followers of the organisation to pray at home in the month of Ramzan.
“I request all, both in India and abroad, to strictly follow the guidelines and instructions of the local or national governments and till the time restrictions are in place, please observe prayers at home. And, even in this, we should not invite people from outside,” he had said in a statement.
Ramzan begins later this week.
(With inputs from Hindustan Times and PTI)
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