Markaz Nizamuddin: Communalisation of Coronavirus

Markaz Nizamuddin

Authorities playing blame game over corona in Nizamuddin, Delhi, under scanner, Markaz Nizamuddin issues clarification

At least 10 people, including 9 Indians, who attended the Markaz meet have died of coronavirus, with over 400 hospitalised with Covid-19 symptoms.

Thousands of people had  attended the Muslim religious  meet at Delhi, and left. 1548 people were evacuated from Delhi, Times of India reported. Many of  them possibly  carried the  virus with them to various states:  441 in Delhi were symptomatic, the rest  being asymptomatic. Those who left may have infected tens of thousands across India, it is feared.

Misinformation and communal propaganda took over many media outlets, blaming Muslims and drawing Pakistan too. Conspiracy and terrorism theories are spawned, and criminal cases launched.

Today, simultaneously, many media outlets are spreading misinformation about Corona in relation to Pakistan, and muslims, some raisng a so-called conspiracy angle also.

Facts are :  The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India stands at 1,251. The Union Health Ministry has said that 102 patients have recovered so far, but 32 have died.    ( March 31, 7pm)

Pak update : 1865 cases as March 31 noon.  So far 25 people died due to the disease.
(Pak pop 21.6 cr, one sixth of India’s, 137 cr in 2019.)

The communalism virus is in its brazen fashion : Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was deployed on Wednesday who launched anti-Muslim politics with a scathing attack on Tablighi Jamaat for the religious gathering in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area for two weeks defying government restrictions and guidelines amid the outbreak of novel coronavirus across the world.

“It is a Talibani crime by Tablighi Jamaat, such criminal act cannot be forgiven. They have put the lives of many people in danger,” ANI quoted the Minority Affairs Minister as saying. He said that strict action should be taken against such people and organisations that defy government directions.

His remark comes amidst reports that Markaz Nizamuddin, the venue of the religious congregation from March 1 to 15, has emerged as a hotspot of coronavirus in the country. The religious event was attended by as many as 2,500 people including hundreds of foreigners. Markaz Nizamuddin is the international headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat for nearly 100 years. The total number of coronavirus cases in Delhi has mounted to 120 after 24 positive cases being reported in the past 24 hours. All these 24 people took part in the religious congregation.


Links allegedly with Pakistan and terrorism are already viral, even  in mainstream media, not to speak of venom in social media.

Incidentally, Markaz movement was founded in India, in 1927 by Muhammad Ilyas al-Kandhlawi in Mewat region, in Rajasthan of India.  

The organisers of the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area have come under criticism from BJP and AAP leaders for going ahead with the 13-15 March gathering of around 2,500 people despite the Covid-19 crisis.

A blame game commenced between the Centre and Delhi govts., the latter asking  for action against Delhi police. One police station shares physical boundaries with the Markaz, AAP said.

At least 10 people, including 9 Indians, who attended the meet have died of coronavirus, with over 400 hospitalised with Covid-19 symptoms.

The organisers, however, have defended themselves, citing a 13 March Union Health Ministry statement that said Covid-19 wasn’t a health emergency. The event was planned an year ahead, visitors including  hundreds of foreigners arriving by early March.

Clarification by Markaz

Tablighi Jamaat,  literally the Outreach Society, is an Islamic missionary movement that focuses on urging Muslims to return to practising their religion as it was practised during the lifetime of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and particularly in matters of ritual, dress and personal behaviour. The organisation is estimated to have between 150 million to 250 million adherents (the majority living in South Asia), and a presence in somewhere between 180 and 200 countries. It has been called “one of the most influential religious movements in 20th century Islam”. (Wikipedia).

As the Delhi-based headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat in Nizamuddin West has come under scanner after several people who were at the markaz have tested positive for the coronavirus, Markaz Nizamuddin has issued clarification by releasing a press note.


Regarding the organisation of the programme the press note clarified “All the programs are decided a year in advance in order to facilitate visitors from far-off places to plan their participation.”

It further added: “When Hon’ble Prime Minister  announced the “Janata  Curfew”, for  22nd March  2020,  the ongoing program in Markaz Nizamuddin was discontinued immediately, however due to sudden cancelation of rail services across the country on 21st March 2020, a large group of visitors who had to depart by way of railways got stuck in the Markaz premises.

On 22nd March 2020, “Janata Curfew” was observed and accordingly visitors were advised not to venture out until 9 PM as desired by the Hon’ble Prime Minister, therefore the plans to move back to their native places by way of means other than railways also did not materialize.

Before the Janata Curfew could be lifted at 9 PM, the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Delhi announced lockdown of Delhi beginning at 6 AM on 23rd March 2020 till 31st March 2020, thereby further diminishing any chances of these visitors availing road transport for their journey back home.”

Expressing helplessness of the Markaz administration, the press note clarified “Despite this challenging situation around fifteen hundred visitors left Markaz Nizamuddin by availing whatever meager transport was available. Suddenly on the evening of 23rd March, a further nationwide lockdown was announced by the Hon’ble Prime Minister with clear message for people to stay-put wherever they are.


Under such compelling circumstances there was no option for Markaz Nizamuddin but to accommodate the  stranded  visitors  with  prescribed medical precautions  till  such  time  that  situation  becomes conducive for their movement or arrangements are made by the authorities.”

The press note pointed out that Markaz administration sought permission for vehicles from Ld.SDM to ferry stranded visitors/ guests towards their destination on 26th March 2020. It further stated, “During this entire episode, Markaz Nizamuddin never violated any provision of law, and always tried  to  act  with  compassion  and  reason  towards  the  visitors  who  came  to  Delhi  from  different states. It did not let them violate the medical guidelines by thronging ISBTs or roaming on streets.”


Offering Markaz as an isolation centre, the press note said “Markaz Nizamuddin would like to humbly offer the entire premises as a quarantine facility to help the authorities tide-over the challenge of current pandemic.”


“On 24th March 2020, suddenly a notice was issued by SHO, P.S. Hazrat Nizamuddin, seeking closure of Markaz premises. The same was responded on 24th March 2020, stating that the compliance of the directions regarding closure of Markaz is already underway and around 1500 people had departed the previous day, thus leaving around 1000 visitors belonging to different states and nationalities in Markaz,” it further added.


Posted By Rasia Hashmi Updated: March 31, 2020, adds:

Tablighi Jamaat in a statement clarified that it had “informed” the officials and “sought permission” to evacuate the people but were denied permission. It also also shared what it said was evidence of the communication between police and authorities concerned and also slammed the media for misreporting.

It said that while all this was happening, on March 24, a notice was issued by Nizamuddin Police Station Incharge to seek closure of Markaz premises. It said that the request was responded to the same day.

It stated that the compliance with the directions for the closure of the HQ was already underway as arrangements for around 1,000 visitors from different states and nationalities had to be taken care of, and SDM concerned was requested to issue vehicle passes. “Lists of 17 vehicles along with their registration numbers and names of drivers plus their licence details were submitted to the SDM so that stranded guests could be ferried to their respective destinations,” it said. The religious group alleged that the requisite permission was still awaited.

“On March 25, area Tehsildar along with a medical team visited the Markaz, and full cooperation provided for inspection as well as preparation of list of visitors,” it said. It said that on March 26, the SDM visited the Markaz and afterward a meeting was held with the DM and again permission was sought for vehicles arranged by them. “On March 27, six persons were taken for medical check-up,” it said, adding that the next day the SDM and WHO team visited the Markaz and took another 33 persons for medical check-up to Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Hospital.

“Surprisingly, on the same day another notice was issued, this time by the Office of ACP, Lajpat Nagar, reiterating the prohibitory orders and warning of legal action, being totally oblivious of the above deliberate steps that were already taken by the Markaz administration in consultation with the authorities. However, the same was replied in detail vide letter dated March 29, 2020,” it said.

On March 30, Monday night, around 100 suspected coronavirus cases were evacuated from the religious complex in buses. They have been kept in isolation in Narela area of Delhi.

Earlier in the day, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said: “Twenty-four people who took part in a religious congregation in Nizamuddin West earlier this month have tested positive for Covid-19.”

He said 1,033 people have been shifted to various places.”A total of 700 persons have been quarantined while around 335 people have been admitted to hospitals,” Jain said, adding that screening of all those who participated in the event is being conducted by the government.

The Delhi Police has cordoned off a major area in Nizamuddin West where several people showed symptoms of the coronavirus after taking part in the congregation.

(Anand Singh can be contacted at [email protected])


Authorities playing blame game over Nizamuddin Markaz

While the Aam Aadmi Party and its government blamed the police for inaction, the area Councillor blamed the Centre for the same.  Questioning the police for inaction, Aam Aadmi Party MLA Amantullah Khan tweeted in Hindi, “On March 23, at 12 p.m. I told the DCP South East and ACP Nizamuddin that around 1,000 people are trapped in Nizamuddin Markaz, then why did the police not arrange to send them.”

On the other hand, Daryaganj Councillor Yasmin Kidwai blamed the BJP-led Centre government along with the police.

In a series of tweets, she tagged Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and said: “@ArvindKejriwal is turning very very quickly- an FIR should definitely be filed but against an incompetent govt who did a #LockdownWithoutPlan – Why were visas issued to foreigners when the #corona warnings were out. Why did Govt not evacuate them even after”

“The markaz has been in constant touch with the Delhi government and the SDM office –they were under lockdown not holding a congregation. But yes let”s move attention from all incompetence and blame people,” she tweeted.

According to Delhi government, the gathering was a “violation” of its order. “Clearly the order was violated of the March 13 order which says the gathering of 200 or more was banned. This calls for criminal action,” a government official told IANS. The official said the Markaz cannot use it as an excuse that they had informed the police. “Doing that after the lockdown was imposed means nothing.”

In a series of tweets, AAP MLA Atishi slammed the police for its inaction, even after a police station shares a physical boundaries with the Markaz.

She said when an order is issued prohibiting gatherings of more than 200 people on March 13, “it automatically applies to all gatherings… The police is also as criminally liable as ”Tabhligi Jamaat” for not enforcing those orders.”

Why did the ”Talighi Jamaat” let so many people part of such a large gathering despite the March 12 order which said that all people with travel history to COVID-19 affected countries were to be self-isolated.

Referring to the statements from the body, she said the ”aiztema” happened much before the dates mentioned in this statement, from March 13 and 15. “On 13th, government issued an order banning any gathering more than 200 people. Why did Markaz not stop the event?” she said.

Demanding strong action against the administrators of the Nizamuddin Markaz she said that it was the job of Delhi Police to enforce the order of Delhi government. She said the Delhi Police should have stopped them, “since they had full information about the event”.

“Strict action needs to be taken against the concerned police officers as well… Nizamuddin Police station shares a boundary wall with the Markaz – they obviously knew what was going on. Therefore, strict action needs to be taken against concerned officials of Delhi Police as well,” she added.

Till now, 24 people have been tested positive in Delhi from the gathering.AWhile 441 were taken to hospitals, 1,447 were taken for quarantine.


Delhi govt and BJP’s Modi govt. Play politics 

Nothing but ‘criminal act’, Markaz clarification ‘not enough’: Delhi govt on Nizamuddin event.

The Delhi government on March 30, Monday directed the police to register an FIR against Maulana Saad Kandalwi of Nizamuddin Markaz after several cases of suspected coronavirus were found in the Nizamuddin area.

SNS Web | New Delhi | March 31, 2020

On the clarification of Markaz Nizamuddin that they were forced to accommodate visitors due to lockdown, the Delhi government hit back saying that there could be no defence for hosting such a large gathering as a ban was already in place since March 13.  On the March 16, the government further reduced gatherings from 200 to 50 under the ban. Therefore, the Delhi government said, the clarification that has been issued wherein they say Makarz had intimated the SHO on March 24 is not enough.

The Delhi government has described the congregation at the Markaz Tablighi Jamath at Hazrat Nizamuddin as a criminal act that was carried out in violation of prohibitory orders that were already in place in the national capital banning large gatherings in an effort to prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus.

“The lockdown was imposed on March 24 and it was the duty of every owner and administrator of every hotel, guesthouse, hostel and similar establishment to maintain social distancing. It looks like social distancing and quarantine protocols were not practised here,” a statement by the Delhi government said.

“Now, it has come to our knowledge that the administrators violated these conditions and several cases of Corona-positive patients have been found here,” it added. The government further stated that strict action would be taken against the organisers of the event.

“By this gross act of negligence, many lives have been endangered. It was the responsibility of every citizen to proactively avoid such a gathering of people during the lockdown and this is nothing but a criminal act,” read the statement.

The Delhi government on Monday directed the police to register an FIR against Maulana Saad Kandalwi of Nizamuddin Markaz after several cases of suspected coronavirus were found in the Nizamuddin area. Meanwhile, AAP MLA Atishi Marlena has urged for ‘strong action’ against the Nizamuddin event organisers.

“Strong action should be taken against the administrators of the Nizamuddin Markaz who organised a 3-day religious gathering, with 1000s of people from 13th-15th March, when Delhi Govt orders had expressely forbidden gatherings or more than 200 persons on 13th March itself,” she said in a tweet.

Moreover, notification by Delhi Govt on 12th March stated that anyone with a travel history from COVID-19 affected countries have to self-isolate, then why did the administrators of the Markaz not ensure isolation of residents coming from those countries?

— Atishi (@AtishiAAP) March 31, 2020

Atishi further questioned why the Delhi Police did not take any action against such large gathering when it was already banned by the government.

What action did @DelhiPolice take against the large religious gathering at the Nizamuddin Markaz from 13-15th March, when there were orders from Delhi Govt prohibiting gatherings of more than 200 people?

Strong action needs to be taken by MHA against concerned police officers

— Atishi (@AtishiAAP) March 31, 2020


Over 2,000 delegates, including from Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Kyrgyzstan attended the Tabligh-e-Jamaat congregation in Nizamuddin West from March 13-15

So far, seven people, who attended the religious congregation have died, while 24 have tested positive for the virus.

Around 1,034 people have now been shifted from the Markaz building till now — 334 to hospitals and 700 to quarantine centers — in at least 34 trips made by Delhi government buses.

The Delhi Police on Monday night cordoned off the area as several people showed symptoms of being infected with the virus.

In its clarification, the Markaz Nizamuddin stated that they did not violate the lockdown announced by the government.

It said that with a hastily carried out lockdown, the visitors were stranded and forced to seek accommodation at the premises, in accordance with the orders of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for people to stay put at wherever they were.

On March 24, it said, a notice was issued by Hazrat Nizamuddin Police Station In-charge seeking closure of Markaz premises. It said that the request of the Station Head Officer (SHO) was responded the same day. It stated that the compliance of the directions regarding closure of the Markaz was already underway as the arrangements for around 1,000 visitors belonging to different states and nationalities were being provisioned wherein the concerned SDM had been requested to issue vehicle passes.

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.




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