COVID-19 in Maharashtra: Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Thursday sought to blame Delhi Police for the sharp spike in Coronavirus cases in his state. Maharashtra is the worst hit state in the country and accounts for the highest number of COVID-19 cases, a majority of them due to the Tablighi Jamaat event held in the national capiltal’s Nizamuddin area last month. So far, Maharshatra has reported over 1297 positive cases and a majority of them are linked to the Tablighi Jamaat. As the number of cases continue to rise in Maharashtra, Deshmukh today said that Delhi Police was responsible for what was happening in his state.
“This new problem surfaced in Maharashtra and other states because of Delhi Police. Who is responsible for this? A programme like the one at Nizamuddin Markaz was scheduled to be held near Mumbai in Vasai on March 15-16 but was not allowed by our government. Why didn’t the Delhi Police stop this programme like we did? Because of this, COVID-19 cases have increased,” the state home minister said.
Not just Delhi Police, Deshmukh has also questioned the Home Ministry for allegedly not acting in time to stop such a large religious gathering despite a complete lockdown in the national capital. Tablighi Jamaat is a religious congregation that assembles every year for a days-long event at its headquarters in Nizamuddin. Muslims from other Islamic nations, too, attend this event in India.
In January, New Delhi started issuing advisories requesting people to avoid travel to or from foreign countries. However, Muslims from other nations came to India on tourist visas and attended the event in Nizamuddin.
As the government started putting restrictions on large gatherings, people from Markaz started spreading in parts of the country. But thousands of them got stuck after Prime Minister Narenra Modi imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 24. However, the damage had already been done by then as some of these people were already infected and carried the virus where it had no chance of reaching.
One such example of this is Assam where not a single case was reported till late March. However, it found its first cases in Tablighi who had attended Markaz in Delhi. The national capital has so far reported 669 cases of which 426 are linked to Markaz. Till Wednesday, Tamil Nadu had reported 621 coronavirus cases of which 574 were linked to Tablighi Jamaat.