Who is responsible for delayed evacuation of TJ Markaz?

Waris Ali Khan

Hyderabad: Amidst media’s relentless propaganda against Tablighi Jamaat (TJ),  M S Khan, Jamaat’s legal advisor has spoken about the actual scenario at Markaz and clarified that the allegations levelled by the government and media are nothing but biased and propagandist. They are meant to malign the reputation of Tablighi Jamaat and by extension the Muslims. By the way, TJ has been working in India and in many countries across the world for about 95 years.

He speaks about the procedures that the Jamaat follows during congregations, especially the recent one that had taken place in Delhi Markaz from 13-15 March 2020.

Khan says one intelligence officer from Delhi and another from Intelligence Bureau are exclusively debuted at Markaz to note down the proceedings and report to the government.

They take the list of people from the Markaz every day. The list contains the names of those who have come from foreign countries and also those foreigners who left the Markaz for other States in India. The list contains the names of the group-leaders with their phone numbers and other details.

They also maintain a list of groups arriving at Markaz from other states in India and the destinations they would be leaving for. The list of local members with all the details is also provided to both the intelligence agencies and to the government.

Khan says that they are even provided with the menu so as to make known what is being cooked at the Markaz.

Against this background, it should become clear that all these details had been provided to the government every day during the recent congregation.

He says the Markaz is an open world; nothing is concealed, anybody can come and inspect the information provided anytime. “We do nothing wrong. We never break the law. The weekly and yearly congregation list is prepared date-wise one year in advance and sent to the Intelligence Bureau. The government has all information about the activities of the Tablighi Jamaat.”

He adds that Jamaat has 202 branches all over the world. The information about the visitors is given to the Ministry of Information and at international airports. The foreign visitors give information to their respective governments too.

Khan says that the Markaz receives 1200 to 1500 persons every day. If a group of 1200 persons leaves today, another group of 1200 to 1500 persons arrives the next day.

The lockdown was imposed all of a sudden (on 24 March) and disturbed the travel plans of the people.

The persons responsible to deal with the government agencies at Markaz have sent written official letter to the government authorities and also met them personally to obtain bus passes so that the held up persons could leave for their homes. They met the Station House Officer (STO). But the passes were not issued. They were made to run from pillar to post. The Markaz arranged buses, fuel and bus drivers. They were requesting for the bus passes so that Markaz could be evacuated. The Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) and the Tahsildar visited the Markaz personally and saw the situation there but did not take any action. There were about 2,500 persons trapped. The lockdown said that nobody should come out of their houses. Therefore, our members stayed inside the Markaz. If we had let go these 2,500 people out on the road, it would have been complete chaos.

Khan says that the Markaz has discharged its duties sincerely. It left no stone unturned to follow the rules and regulations set by the government.  Had the Markaz been issued the bus passes on the first day, it would have been evacuated at the same time. The government and the police are at the fault, not the Markaz. They are unnecessarily blaming the Markaz.

He further asserts that media are showing Maulana Saad Khandhalavi videos with a fake voice. He is being shown as a person encouraging violation of the law of the country; speaking against social distancing and; encouraging the people to come to mosques for congregational prayers.

Maulana Saad is the head of the Markaz.

Khan says that allegations have been made against Maulana Saad with a view to malign his name and defame the Tableeghi Jamaat. The Maulana never spoke such things. Tablighi Jamaat does not have any TV channel, YouTube channel or blog.

“In 95 years of our history, Tablighi Jamaat never violated any law of the country. Our members have never disobeyed the law of the country,” says Khan. 

He asks the media to refrain from spreading malicious rumours.  

On March 13 Delhi Government banned seminars and conferences but excluded religious congregations from the ban order. The same day, Luv Agrawal, Joint Secretary Health Government of India, allegedly declared that there is no health emergency, despite 81 COVID-19 cases were being reported.

The 21-day national lockdown was announced on 24 March 2020.

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