Coronavirus Outbreak: Mapping the Tablighi Jamaat Trail
How many followers of the Tablighi Jamaaat attended the Ijtemah or religious congregation at their headquarters in Nizamuddin area of the national capital in early and mid-March? The figures very between 2000 and 6000 or more, according to media reports.
How many followers of the Tablighi Jamaat attended the Ijtemah or religious congregation at their headquarters in Nizamuddin area of the national capital in early and mid-March? The figures vary between 2000 and 6000 or more, according to media reports.
As reports of more cases of attendees to the Nizamuddin Ijtemah are coming in, the Centre and states are scrambling to contain the virulent spread of coronavirus in the country.
The Malaysia Connection
In February, more than 15,000 people congregated in a mosque complex on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia for a Tablighi Jamaat congregation. The Kuala Lumpur Ijtemah is now being seen as a source of thousands of coronavirus infections all over Southeast Asia.
The Nizamuddin congregation
As it turned out, many scholars and preachers the Kuala Lumpur Ijtemah attended the Nizamuddin congregation. In a matter of days the numbers in cases of positive coronavirus saw a sharp spike turning Nizamuddin into the most major coronavirus hotspot with a deadly trail through at least 20 states. 19 of the 50 deaths in the country have been traced to the Ijtemah at Nizamuddin.
The Tablighi Jamaat Trail
77 of the 92 reported cases of COVID-19 in Telangana are related to COVID-19. 9 people who attended the Nizamuddin Ijtemah have died of Covid-19 in the state. In all around 1100 people from the state attended the event. 160 among those who attended the Ijtemah remain to be traced.
In neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, close to 800 people are reported to have attended the Nizamuddin congregation. 64 of the 86 positive cases have been traced to those who attended the Nizamuddin congregation.
569 People from Uttar Pradesh have been traced to the Tablighi Jamaat event.
1500 people from Tamil Nadu attended the Nizamuddin Ijtemah. 190 of the attendees have tested positive for coronavirus. In Delhi, 53 of the 152 positive cases reported have been tracked to the congregation at Nizamuddin. 16 cases have been reported in Assam all of which have been linked to participants of the Nizamuddin Ijtemah. In all, 547 people from Assam had attended the Ijtemah at Nizamuddin and many are yet to return.
The only case of positive coronavirus to have been reported in Arunachal Pradesh is of a participant in the Tablighi Jamaat congregation.
The Centre, in coordination with state governments, has compiled a list of all the attendees to the Delhi congregation. Four days before the lockdown Union government had written to states seeking an immediate response on the presence of large numbers of Tablighi Jamaat followers in Nizamuddin.
The Centre was in constant touch with states on how some of Tablighi Jamaat preachers cris-crossing the country could be spreading the infection. It was with the intervention of National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval that the Tablighi Jamaat headquarters in the mosque complex was evacuated. In the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday, 2,361 people were evacuated and 617. quarantined. Others were hospitalised after they showed symptoms for COVID-19."
The Ministry of Home Affairs also sent a list of close to 500 foreigners in various states, urging them to track them down immediately. 125 foreigners are reported to have reached Tamil Nadu, 115 to Maharashtra, 132 to UP and 115 Haryana. State governments working closely with clerics on the ground, have been appealing to all those who attended the Nizamuddin Ijtemah to come forward and report at the nearest COVID-19 health centre or call the helpline set up by the government .
The government's biggest worry at this stage is the danger of community transmission which could be triggered by the movement of some of the followers of the Tablighi Jamaat congregation who have not been tracked down or isolated yet. Secondly, many of them have already travelled extensively to various parts of the country. The ramifications of the Tablighi Jamaat congregation are already being felt in the form of surge in Coronavirus positive cases.