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24 people who took part in religious congregation at Nizamuddin test positive for coronavirus: Jain


Press Trust of India New Delhi
Twenty-four people, who took part in a religious congregation at Tabligh-e-Jamaat's Markaz in Nizamuddin West earlier this month, have tested positive for coronavirus, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Tuesday.
Talking to reporters at his residence, he said, "700 people who attended this congregation have been quarantined, while around 335 people have been admitted to hospitals."

Jain said the screening of all those who participated in the event is being conducted by the government.
After the matter came to light, the Centre and the Delhi government swung into action to trace people who attended the congregation. Six people from Telangana and one from Jammu and Kashmir, who attended the event, died due to coronavirus.
The Delhi Police has cordoned off a major area in Nizamuddin West

Over 2,000 delegates attended the congregation from March 1-15.
Nationals from the UK and France are among 281 foreigners out of 1,830 people who were found by the police in the last two days at the Markaz that became a key source of coronavirus spread in the country, officials said.
In last one month, at least 8,000 people, including foreigners visited the premises of the Markaz, and most of them either returned to their respective places or were in other Markaz facilities across the country, thereby having a link to some positive cases in those states, they said.
India is also likely to blacklist 300 foreign nationals who attended the event for violating visa norms, the officials said.
Meanwhile, AAP MLA Atishi sought strong action against Markaz authorities.
"Strong action should be taken against the administrators of the Nizamuddin Markaz who organised a 3-day religious gathering, with 1000s of people from March 13-15, when Delhi government orders had expressly forbidden gatherings or more than 200 persons on 13th March itself," the Kalkaji MLA said in a tweet.
"Moreover, notification by Delhi government on March 12 stated that anyone with a travel history from COVID-19 affected countries has to self-isolate, then why did the administrators of the Markaz not ensure isolation of residents coming from those countries," she asked.
Atishi also targeted the Delhi Police, asking why no action was taken by it.
"What action did Delhi Police take against the large religious gathering at the Nizamuddin Markaz from March 13-15, when there were orders from Delhi govt prohibiting gatherings of more than 200 people? Strong action needs to be taken by MHA against concerned police officers," she said.
In another tweet, she tagged a screenshot to show the distance between Nizamuddin police station and the Nizamuddin Markaz.
She was joined by her party colleague and Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan.
Khan said on March 23, at midnight, he spoke to DCP (southeast) and ACP Nizamuddin that there were nearly 1000 people stranded in and around the Markaz, then why did the police not make any arrangement to move them.
The Markaz in a statement said it has not violated any provision of law and offered its premises for setting up a quarantine facility.
The statement referred to the directive of the Delhi government to take legal action against the Markaz administration.
"During this entire episode, Markaz Nizamuddin never violated any provision of law, and always tried to act with compassion and reason towards the visitors who came to Delhi from different states. It did not let them violate the medical guidelines by thronging ISBTs or roaming on streets," the statement said.
"Visitors/guests/devotees/worshippers from across the globe throng the place for pre-scheduled programmes and all the programmes are decided a year in advance in order to facilitate visitors from far-off places to plan their participation," it said.
The statement said when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the 'Janata Curfew' on March 22, the ongoing programme was discontinued immediately, but a large number of people were stuck in the premises due to the closure of railway services on March 21.
"Before the Janta Curfew could be lifted at 9 pm, the Delhi chief minister announced lockdown of Delhi beginning at 6 am on March 23 till March 31, thereby further diminishing any chances of these visitors availing road transport for their journey back home," the statement said.
The statement said around 1,500 people left the Markaz on March 23 by "availing whatever transport was available".
On the evening of March 23, the prime minister announced a nationwide 21-day lockdown, the statement said, adding there was no option for Markaz Nizamuddin but to accommodate the stranded visitors with prescribed medical precautions.
On March 24, a notice was issued by SHO of the Hazrat Nizamuddin police station seeking closure of Markaz premises.
The Markaz responded to the notice the same day by stating that around 1,000 visitors belonging to different states and nationalities were present in Markaz while 1,500 had left.
It had also requested the SDM of the area to issue vehicle passes so that the remaining people could be sent back to their native places outside of Delhi, the statement said.
Residents of the area accused the administration and police of not heeding their complaints about a large number of people converging at the Markaz amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Sheikh Mohammad Umar, the secretary of Nizamuddin West Resident Welfare Association, claimed the RWA had brought the issue to the notice of the SDM, local police and SDMC but "nothing happened".

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First Published: Mar 31 2020 | 5:20 PM IST

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