Hyderabad: The Telangana State authorities have identified as many as 603 persons who traveled to the Aalami Tableeghi Jamaat Markaz in New Delhi’s Nizamuddin area from the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation. While efforts are on to trace them, 463 have been traced.
15 people test positive
As per the latest COVID–19 health bulletin, 15 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The victims are those who have attended the bi-annual convergence meeting in the Nizamuddin Markaz and their relatives who they came in contact with.
However, it is estimated that around 1,000 Tablighi Jamaat workers from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh traveled to Delhi to participate in the bi-annual convergence meeting. It is said that the meeting was largely for those who are senior preachers or the Ameers (chiefs) of their respective regions. One of the first meetings was held on 7th March in which senior preachers attended from all over the world. There were fewer people in this meeting as compared to the subsequent meetings.
The meeting for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana preachers was from 15th March in which a larger group met and held deliberations and was engaged in worship.
Even as the issue came to the fore, right-wing Hindutva groups and those with Saffron leanings jumped on the bandwagon to bash the Tableeghi Jamaat. Many on social media, especially on WhatsApp and Twitter cast aspersions on the Jamaat. They also accused it of indulging in coronavirus Jihad. The deadly virus which sees no religion has been thoroughly communalised.
The Tableeghi Jamaat was founded 96-years ago by Maulana Mohammad Ilyas. It essentially focused on Meo Muslims from Mewat. The Maulana saw that this community was unemployed and in dire straits. Thus began his preaching or Tableegh work.
Over the years, the Tableeghi Jamaat has continued to work as a grassroots level organisation which primarily adhered to talking about the non-political and semi-ascetic attitude. Since it is an inward looking organisation, the target audience for preaching has always remained the Muslim community.
The convergence meeting at the Nizamuddin Markaz began on 7th March. This was much before the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Janata Curfew which was on 22nd March. The final supplication, which marks the end of the congregation, was performed on 17th March after which attendees went back to their states.
No law was broken. No Janata Curfew was violated. The Tableeghi Jamaat has come on record to inform that who were in the Markaz were, in effect, stuck there on account of the lockdown. A vast majority are non-locals of Delhi and international travelers who came to the convergence meeting. Furthermore, evidence in the form of communication between the authorities in Delhi and the Markaz has come on record which shows the latter communicating its willingness to comply with orders. The Markaz also sought the ruling dispensation’s help to clear the premises of visitors. This begs the question as to why the Tableeghi Jamaat is being subjected to a witch hunt.
So far, the Tableeghi Jamaat seems to be not guilty of what it is charged with. But it is indeed guilty on one thing: a complete lack of self-regulation in the light of the coronavirus crisis. Had the Jamaat wished, it could have cancelled the event. That way, it would have steered clear of controversy and the inane accusations of coronavirus jihad which are now being extrapolated to the entire community would have been avoided.