Covid-19 update: FIR against Nizamuddin gathering organisers, says Delhi health minister

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Covid-19 Update: The evangelical Muslim sect Tablighi Jamaat had hosted its annual congregation this month in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area with attendees coming in from several foreign nations such as Indonesia and Malaysia.

The Delhi government has given an order to book the organisers of a religious sect’s congregation in Nizamuddin area after eight people died and 24 others tested positive for the coronavirus disease, health minister Satyendar Jain said on Tuesday.

Officials on Monday evacuated the six-storey building, which belongs to the Tablighi Jamaat, of hundreds of people who are believed to have been exposed to the virus.

The evangelical Muslim sect had hosted its annual congregation this month with attendees coming in from several foreign nations such as Indonesia and Malaysia.

Some of them then went to other parts of the country such as Kashmir and Andhra Pradesh, creating a web of close contacts that now threatens to create an explosion of cases in the country. Eight people, seven in Telangana and one in Kashmir, who attended the gathering have died.

“Event’s organisers committed a grave crime. Disaster Act and Contagious Diseases Act was enforced in Delhi and no assembly of more than five people was allowed. Still, they did this,” Jain was quoted as saying to reporter.

“I have written to the lieutenant governor to take the strictest action against them. The Delhi government has given the order to file an FIR,”

The Delhi health minister said they are not certain of the number of attendees but it is estimated that 1500 to 1700 people had assembled at the Markaz building.

“One thousand and thirty three people have been evacuated so far—334 of them have been sent to hospital and 700 sent to quarantine centre,” Jain said.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal held a meeting through video conferencing over the Nizamuddin issue. Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, Satyender Jain and other officials also participating in the meeting.

The eight victims had been to the building in Nizamuddin – also referred to as a Markaz – which shares a boundary with the police station and is close to the famous Nizamuddin Auliya shrine.

A team of South Delhi Municipal Corporation was called in to sanitise the entire area earlier in the morning. The team of medical and administrative personnel allowed people to be shifted to hospitals only after noting down their name, address, contact number and date of their arrival.

The building, which has emerged as one of the biggest coronavirus disease hot spots, has six floors with accommodations for up to 2000 people on the upper floors, with the basement and the ground housing a kitchen and a communal dining area.

A drone was also used to monitor the area around Markaz building in Nizamuddin.