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Police using cell phone data to trace people who attended Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi

Over the last week, contact tracing of the attendees of the Markez event is being conducted on a war footing all over the country, to locate them and others who came in direct contact with them.

SNS | New Delhi |

The Tablighi Jamaat  gathering which was held in Delhi, has created a crisis of sort amid the Coronavirus pandemic, which the country is already facing.  Now, the police is tracing people who attended the religious gathering at Nizamuddin Markaz  through cell phone data.

According to NDTV  report, police is tracing the attendees of this event trough the mobile phone data. The police are checking all those people whose GPS location in March signalled their presence in that area for several days.

The Delhi Police Crime Branch has been investigating the case after country saw a surge in the number of Coronavirus cases. Out of 3,374 confirmed novel coronavirus cases, more than 1000 people have been found to be linked to the Markaz gathering which was attended by a large number of foreign nationals. The Delhi Police is being assisted by the police in other states in the mapping process.

As the Tabligh-e-Jamaat’s Markaz in Nizamuddin West emerged as a major COVID-19 hotspot, the Centre had on Wednesday directed all states and union territories to “immediately trace, screen and quarantine” the estimated 2000 foreigners who attended the religious gathering.

Over the last week, contact tracing of the attendees of the Markez event is being conducted on a war footing all over the country, to locate them and others who came in direct contact with them. An Indian Air Force sergeant  has also been traced through this. He and those in contact with him have been quarantined as a precautionary measure.

The Home Ministry in a letter addressed to state chief secretaries and police chiefs also said that if any foreigner tests negative for the deadly Coronavirus, then he should be “immediately deported by the first available flight”.

The advisory further said that foreign teams of the Jamaat are on tour to the hinterland of India, and appear to be potential carriers of the coronavirus disease.

The ministry of Thursday blacklisted 960 foreigners on tourist visas from 41 countries for their participation in Tablighi Jamaat activities organised at Islamic headquarters in Nizamuddin.

Indonesia, Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and Sri Lanka are among the 41 top countries from where these foreigners came from.

The MHA has also directed the DGPs of all states and Union territories and the Commissioner of Police, Delhi to take necessary legal action against such violators, on priority, under relevant sections of the Foreigners Act, 1946 and Disaster Management Act, 2005.

On Saturday, police had found that more than 500 foreign Muslim preachers linked to the Tablighi Jamaat at Markaz Nizamuddin have been staying in over 15 mosques in the national capital after the event.

They are hiding in different places as they are unable to move out of the country due to the lockdown announced by the central government in view of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

A police, according to a report in IANS, said that during raids conducted by the Delhi Police in several places across the national capital, these preachers were found to be hiding in 16-17 places.

The organisers of a religious congregation last month saw over 3400 people gathered in the Nizamuddin Markaz building ignoring social distancing norms.

The FIR  registered against the organisers says that they were responsible for the gathering and they allowed visitors to continue living in the building despite notice issued to them on March 24, the day the country went into a total lockdown to fight the spread of coronavirus.

Tablighi Jamaat Markaz is also booked for violating the Epidemic Act provisions and also IPC Section 120B (criminal conspiracy).

The Tablighi Jamaat is an Islamic missionary movement set up in 1926, with members across the world. Similar events held in Malaysia and Pakistan in February-March have been linked to virus cases. The religious group’s international headquarters, called Nizamuddin Markaz, is situated in the middle of Nizamuddin colony in southwest Delhi, from where it originally started. It has centres in over 200 countries.

The gathering, which featured sermons, was attended by Tablighi members from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Nepal, Myanmar, Kyrgyzstan and Saudi Arabia. Members had also come from Afghanistan, Algeria, Djibouti, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, England, Fiji, France and Kuwait.

Earlier, last week , Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the police would use cellphone data in their investigations.

The number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases in the country climbed to 3,374 on Sunday while the death toll rose to 77, according to Union Health Ministry data.