Citing Tablighi meet, TS minister puts virus spread onus on BJP

HYDERABAD: The issue of COVID-19 testing is building up to a political slugfight between the ruling TRS and the opposition BJP in Telangana.

Launching a counter attack, Telangana’s Health Minister E. Rajender on Friday asked the BJP to explain why it permitted the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi to take place, in the first place.

He was responding to the BJP state President Bandi Sanjay’s recent allegation that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government stopped COVID-19 tests in view of Ramzan.

Laying the blame at the BJP’s doorstep for the spread of coronavirus to various parts of the country, the minister said the BJP acted irresponsibly to allow the meeting at Markaz or Tablighi Jamaat headquarters.

“The Delhi Police are in your control. The law and order is in your hands. Why did you allow people from other countries to gather at Markaz despite the fact that coronavirus was spreading in various parts of the world,” asked Rajender at a news conference.

Pointing out that the visiting team from the centre, has praised the state for its efforts in containing coronavirus, the Health Minister said the BJP was unable to stomach the praise, and is raising doubts about the findings of the central team.

“Don’t you want the state to come out of coronavirus situation? Do you want the lockdown to continue? Do you want to see people continue to suffer?” Rajender asked the BJP leader.

The minister said that neither the BJP’s efforts to communalise the issue nor the Congress’ attempts to politicise the issue, would succeed in Telangana.

Rubbishing the opposition allegations that COVID-19 the guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

He declared that the number of COVID-19 cases came down due to the effective steps taken by the state government.

Stating that the state successfully identified and tested 1,244 people who attended Markaz meet and traced 10,000 of their contacts, Rajender said if the state had not done this it would have the largest number of cases in the country.

“If lockdown was not implemented properly, we would have become another Kurnool or Guntur,” he said referring to Andhra Pradesh districts which reported a large number of cases.

He claimed that it was Telangana which alerted the country about the Jamaat, when 10 Indonesians who had come to Telangana by train after visiting the Markaz, were identified and tested positive on March 16.

The Health Minister however conceded that 90 per cent of 1044 positive cases in the state are linked to Nizamuddin Markaz attendees or their contacts.

He also revealed that when police and health personnel were trying to trace 1,244 Markaz attendees they came under attack. “Those people were saying that ‘we don’t have any symptoms’ but we said ‘Nothing. you have to cooperate’. Out of these 1,244 people, over 250 tested positive,” he said.

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