The police claim to have traced over 400 Jamaat participants so far(HT Photo/Sant Arora)
Punjab government on Tuesday served an ultimatum to all members of the Tablighi Jamaat in the state who may have attended the Nizamudding religious event in Delhi to report to the nearest police station in the state within 24-hours or be ready to face criminal prosecution, said news agency ANI.
Punjab’s Information & Public Relations Department issued a government order carrying the deadline to follow up on efforts to make the attendees disclose their status to the administration. The Jamaat has emerged as one of the largest clusters of coronavirus infection across the country with close to one-third of all the infections linked to it.
The police claim to have traced 445 Jamaat participants, leaving 22 of the total 467 Jamaat workers who had arrived in Punjab after attending the Delhi event in March.
12 out of the 350 samples belonging to the Jamaat members are said to have tested positive while 111 samples have reported negative. The results for 227 tests were still awaited, said the Punjab government spokesperson quoted by the agency.
According to the Central government statement on Monday, at least 1,445 cases out of over 4000 positive Covid-19 infections across the country, were linked to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi. Over 9,000 people had attended the religious gathering in Delhi’s Nizamuddin in March, the government had said.
Uttar Pradesh government said on Tuesday that a total of 314 people have been found positive in the state so far including the 168 linked to the Jamaat.
The Central government has claimed that India’s coronavirus containment strategy had largely been successful except for the setback from the Jamaat cluster.
In a related development, Arvind Kejriwal led Delhi government said on Tuesday that phone numbers of 1950 people related to Tablighi Jamat have been given to Delhi Police for tracing. All these people were removed from the Nizamuddin headquarter of the Markaz.
While states have expressed concern over the high number of cases among the Jamaat members and their contacts, several opposition leaders have expressed fears that Tablighi Jamaat cases were being highlighted to demonise the Muslim community.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury has written to the President requesting him to ensure that the Tablighi Jamaat congregation incident is not made into an excuse to target the Muslim community.