The Centre on Friday asked all the states and Union Territories to track and conduct coronavirus screening of Rohingya Muslim refugees who attended the religious congregations of the Tablighi Jamaat or came in contact with the members.
The Union Home Ministry issued the direction after intelligence agencies reported to the government that Rohingyas living in camps at various places had attended the religious congregations of the Tablighi Jamaat.
Rohingya Muslims who attended the congregation and their contacts may have contracted COVID-19, the Centre has conveyed to the state governments.
As per the intelligence reports, the Rohingyas residing in camps in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana had attended the Tablighi Jamaat ‘Ijtema’ at Mewat in Haryana and then visited the Markaz at Nizamuddin in New Delhi where 1,306 foreigners from 41 countries attended the congregation on March 13.
The event led to a sudden spike in coronavirus cases with many of them getting traced to the congregation.
Agencies have also reported to the top brass of the Government that a group of Rohingyas living in Shram Vihar near Shaheen Bagh — one of the major sites for the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests — in the national capital also joined the Tablighi Jamaat activities last month.
Some of the Rohingyas are learnt to have visited the Derabassi area in Punjab and Jammu after attending Tablighi activities in the national capital.
The Home Ministry instructed the states to pursue the investigations on priority so that all the Rohingya Muslims and their contacts could be quarantined on time if they are found positive with the deadly disease which has claimed 452 lives while the number of active cases has gone beyond the 11,500-mark across the country.
The Rohingyas and their contacts across the country, sources said, will be screened for coronavirus.
The Delhi Police has registered an FIR against Maulana Saad Kandalwi of Nizamuddin Markaz and six others for violating government orders on management of the Markaz in relation to social, political or religious gathering amidst the Coronavirus outbreak.
These six people include Maulana Saad, Dr Zeeshan, Mufti Shehzad, M Saifi, Younus and Mohd Salman, the organisers of a religious congregation last month that saw over 3400 people gathered in the Nizamuddin Markaz building ignoring social distancing norms.
They have also been booked for violation of the Epidemic Diseases Act and the Disaster Management Act.
On April 2, the Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday blacklisted 960 foreigners on tourist visas from 41 countries for their participation in Tablighi Jamaat activities organised at Islamic headquarters in Nizamuddin, turning the area into a major Coronavirus hostspot in the country.
Indonesia, Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and Sri Lanka are among the 41 top countries from where these foreigners came from.
With this move, the visitors’ visas stand cancelled.
Earlier, the Centre had asked all states and union territories to “immediately trace, screen and quarantine” the estimated 2000 foreigners who attended the religious gathering last month.
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”.
“Till that time, such person must be confined and quarantined by his host organisation,” the government had said in its advisory.
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.
(With inputs from IANS)