Centre asks states/UTs to trace Tablighi Jamaat participants

PTI NEW DELHI, 1st Apr: Te Centre on Wednesday asked the states and Union Territories to launch on a "war footing" the contact tracing of all participants of the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi’s Nizamuddin, which has emerged as the coronavirus hotspot. In a video conference with chief secretaries and DGPs of all states and Union Territories (UTs), Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba also asked them to take action against foreigners, who have participated in the missionary activities of the Tablighi Jamaat, for violation of visa conditions. During the meeting, the states and UTs were sensitised about the intensive contact tracing of Tablighi Jamat participants as this has increased the risk of containment efforts of COVID-19 in the country. "Te states were asked to complete the contact tracing process on a war footing," an official statement said. Te chief secretaries and DGPs were told that it has been found that foreigners who had participated in the Tablighi Jamaat had violated visa conditions. "Te states were asked to initiate action for violation of visa conditions against the foreigners and the organisers of the event," the statement said. More than 2,300 Tablighi Jamaat activists were found to be living at the organisation’s headquarters at Nizamuddin Markaz and they were evicted from the premises in last three days. As many as 617 of them have been hospitalised after showing signs of COVID-19 and the rest placed under quarantine. Te Ministry of Home Affairs had on Tuesday said as on March 21, approximately 824 foreigners, were staying at Tablighi Jamaat branches in different parts of the country. Out of them, 216 were staying at Nizamuddin Markaz. Most of these foreigners came to India on tourist visa, which prohibits involvement of any religious activities. One person each from Jammu and Kashmir and Telangana, who succumbed to the infection, had also attended the congregation. It is estimated that several hundred Indians, who attended the congregation of the Tablighi Jamaat at Nizamuddin in March had returned to their respective states and UTs -- about 20 -- raising fear that they could be the potential carrier of the infection. Gauba also asked the states to implement the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana within next week. Under the scheme, the central government plans to disburse Rs 27,500 crore to beneficiaries through banks. "Tis will involve large cash transfer to beneficiaries. It should be organised in a staggered manner to ensure social distancing," the statement said. Te meeting noted that lockdown is being implemented effectively all over the country. Te states were also asked to ensure that intra-state movement of goods is allowed without any hindrance while maintaining social distancing. Te manufacturing of essential goods should be ensured. It should also be ensured that the supply chains of such goods are maintained, the statement added.

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