New Delhi: The Tabligh-e-Jamaat's Markaz in Nizamuddin West, which is among the major COVID-19 hotspots in the country, has been cleared after the evacuation of 2,361 people in the past 36 hours, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Wednesday.
Taking to Twitter, Sisodia said that out of the 2,361 people, 617 have been admitted to hospitals while the rest quarantined.
"The medical staff, administration, police and DTC staff worked together in this 36-hour operation, putting their lives at risk. Hats off to all of them," the deputy chief minister said in another tweet.
क़रीब 36 घंटे के इस ओपरेशन में मेडिकल स्टाफ़, प्रशासन, पुलिस, डीटीसी स्टाफ़ सबने मिलकर, अपनी जान जोखिम में डालकर काम किया. इन सबको दिल से सलाम. 2/2
— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) April 1, 2020
The total number of coronavirus cases in Delhi climbed to 120 on Tuesday after 23 new cases of the disease were reported on Tuesday.
These 120 cases include 24 people who took part in a religious congregation at the Markaz in Nizamuddin West earlier this month.
Tablighi Jamaat Markaz has been booked for violating the Epidemic Act provisions and also IPC Section 120B (criminal conspiracy). The Crime Branch will also question the Markaz chief as well as Saad Kandhalvi, who organized such a large gathering of the sect's followers in a situation where coronavirus infection spreads quickly.
Crime Branch sources said it would now look for those who participated in the event and then dispersed to various parts of the country, many among them carrying the deadly corona infection. Many states have already reported that such religious followers have already been found corona-positive.
Besides, it would also list out foreigners who might have already left for their countries.
Till Monday night, the number of cases of the deadly COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) stood at 97, including two deaths.
Authorities playing blame game over Nizamuddin Markaz
As the Nizamuddin Markaz turns out to be an epicentre of coronavirus spread not only in the city but also across country, authorities have started blame game regarding the same.
The Markaz building, which is the international headquarters of 'Tablighi Jamaat' from around last 100 years, continued to house about 2,000 people from different parts of the country and world despite several orders issued by Delhi Health Department.
First order was issued on March 13 which said "all sports gathering, including IPL, conferences and seminars beyond 200 people are prohibited in Delhi for the purpose of prevention and control of the outbreak of epidemic disease namely COVID-19."
Since the March 13 order had no mention of religious gathering, another order was issued on March 16 which said, "Any gathering -- social, cultural, political, religious, academic, sports, seminar, conference and family mass gathering, except marriage, is restricted to a maximum of 50 persons in Delhi till March 31."
Three days later, on March 19, the government barred gathering of 20 people for any purpose, including religious and on March 21, the gathering cap was for five people.
About the programme, the Nizamuddin Markaz said: "All such programmes are planned in advance as visitors, guests, devotees and worshipers from across the globe need to plan their participation. These programmes last for not more than 3-5 days."
However, the ongoing programme was discontinued immediately after the 'Janata Curfew' on March 22 was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the body further said.
"A large group of visitors who had to depart through trains got stuck in the premises due to sudden cancellation of rail services across the country on March 21," the body said.
However, the Markaz did not comment on the gathering of so many people in the building despite the government order barring the gathering.
While the Aam Aadmi Party and its government blamed the police for inaction, the area Councillor blamed the Centre for the same.
Questioning the police for inaction, Aam Aadmi Party MLA Amantullah Khan tweeted in Hindi, "On March 23, at 12 p.m. I told the DCP South East and ACP Nizamuddin that around 1,000 people are trapped in Nizamuddin Markaz, then why did the police not arrange to send them."
On the other hand, Daryaganj Councillor Yasmin Kidwai blamed the BJP-led Centre government along with the police. In a series of tweets, she tagged Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and said: "@ArvindKejriwal is turning very very quickly- an FIR should definitely be filed but against an incompetent govt who did a #LockdownWithoutPlan - Why were visas issued to foreigners when the #corona warnings were out. Why did Govt not evacuate them even after"
"The Markaz has been in constant touch with the Delhi government and the SDM office --they were under lockdown not holding a congregation. But yes let's move attention from all incompetence and blame people," she tweeted.
The markaz has been in constant touch with the Delhi govt and SDM office -they were under lockdown not holding a congregation . But yes let’s move attention from all incompetence and blame people
— Yasmin Kidwai (@YasminKidwai) March 31, 2020
According to the Delhi government, the gathering was a "violation" of its order.
"Clearly the order was violated of the March 13 order which says the gathering of 200 or more was banned. This calls for criminal action," a government official told IANS.
The official said the Markaz cannot use it as an excuse that they had informed the police. "Doing that after the lockdown was imposed means nothing."
Demanding strong action against the administrators of the Nizamuddin Markaz she said that it was the job of Delhi Police to enforce the
(With Agency Inputs)