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India: 6 Tablighi Jamaat members test COVID-19 positive

200 people holed in Tablighi Jammat headquarters in Indian capital Delhi quarantined

Cheena Kapoor   | 30.03.2020
India: 6 Tablighi Jamaat members test COVID-19 positive

NEW DELHI, India

Six members of global Tablighi Jamaat, who were residing at its headquarters in the heart of Indian capital New Delhi, have tested positive for coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic.

As many as 200 people, who were residing in the six-floor building, known as Banglawali Mosque have been quarantined.

Another 99 people from the group are showing symptoms of COVID-19, confirmed health officials.

On Monday, the local police sealed the mosque with over 1,700 people still inside, including 300 foreigners.

"We have shifted 97 symptomatic contacts to a quarantine facility set up by the Indian railways. Another 99 suspects have been shifted to various Delhi government-run hospitals," said a Delhi government official on the condition of anonymity.

He said that 32 more suspects have been shifted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences located at Jhajjar in the nearby province of Haryana.

Locals confirmed that a group of preachers from Malaysia and Indonesia had come and stayed in the mosque, which also houses several dormitories.

The Jamat, an apolitical organization, believes in spreading elementary Islamic knowledge and teaches prayers to Muslims by traveling far and wide and staying in local mosques.

"The headquarters houses around 4,000 people on an average, mostly from outside Delhi. The main worry here is that people, who came here have later traveled all over India and outside," a resident Sheikh Jilani told Anadolu Agency.

The government official also said that it was found that COVID-19 positive cases detected in Jammu and Kashmir and in far off places like Telangana in South India and even in Andamans, a group of islands in the Bay of Bengal, had stayed in this mosque.

"We have been told that other people will also be taken away in batches, for quarantine. The place is being now sanitized," said Jilani.

Person who died in Kashmir had stayed in mosque 

Local media reported the person who died in Kashmir because of the COVID-19 had stayed in the mosque with the members of a group that had come from Indonesia. He then accompanied this group to Jaipur, capital of the western province of Rajasthan, before heading to his home in Kashmir.

Of the 72 cases detected in Delhi, five have been discharged while two people -- a 68-year-old resident of West Delhi and a 60-year-old Yemeni national have died

According to John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, India has so far reported 1,071 COVID-19 cases with 29 deaths.

Malaysian officials had earlier reported that 624 of the nation’s 1,030 COVID-19 cases were linked to the gathering organized by the Tablighi Jamaat outside of Kuala Lumpur.

Noted journalist Zia Us Salam reported that in Delhi also from March 17-19, the Jamaat hosted worshippers from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Kyrgyzstan along with hundreds of local men and scores from South India. They were part of a program to stay in the mosque for three days and devote time to learn the basic teachings of Islam.

"With membership running into several lakhs, the Jamaat keeps no record of worshippers and refrains even from opening a website. Without focusing on worldly matters, it believes in self-realization as the key to success," said Salam.

"At a time when most of the mosques across the country had shut their doors on congregations, Tablighi Jamaat had insisted on keeping their doors open, believing that a collective prayer is the need of the hour. After the combination of persuasion and force, they later realized the grim situation," said the journalist.

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