At least 30 per cent of India’s 2902 coronavirus cases can be linked to members of an Islamic group congregating in Delhi in mid-March, said the government on Saturday.
“Through a massive effort around 22,000 Tablighi Jamaat workers and their contacts have been quarantined,” said Punya Salila Srivastava, joint secretary in the home affairs ministry, at a press conference in Delhi.
Lav Aggarwal, joint secretary in the health ministry, said at the same press conference 1,023 coronavirus cases in 17 states were related to the Jamaat’s congregation. “Around 30 per cent of the total cases are related to the religious congregation so far. We need to understand that we are as strong as the weakest link,” he said.
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The Jamaat organised the gathering between March 10 and March 15 when the country had not restricted people from coming out in public, but at a time when the World Health Organisation had declared the disease as a pandemic that required international efforts to contain.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Union Minister for Minority Affairs, last week called the Jamaat’s congregation a “Taliban crime”.
“When the entire country is together to fight coronavirus, in such circumstances, such a thing is a crime. Not just the law, but even the Almighty will not forgive such a thing. It is very unfortunate that the lives of so many people were endangered because of such a careless approach,” he said.