NEW DELHI, March 31 - Over 300 persons hailing from Assam had taken part in the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Markaz Nizamuddin here and a majority of them are now undergoing medical screening at three Delhi government hospitals.
According to a list available with this newspaper, 299 people, who attended the event, are still in the Delhi headquarters of the Jamaat. Moreover, around 100 more attendees are reported to have returned to Assam as claimed by a delegate.
However, there is confusion over the numbers because Tablighi Jamaat does not maintain a state-wise list of delegates. Later, when the authorities compiled a state-wise list, at least 299 were shown as having come from Assam, even as a delegate claimed that at least 100 attendees of the event had returned to the State.
Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted that �Several people from Assam are also present in Nizamuddin who had gone to attend the religious congregation arranged by Tablighi Jamaat. First list has come consisting the names of 299 people and second list consists of 157 persons.�
Members registered by the authorities were taken to three Delhi government hospitals � Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Hospital and Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital � for medical screening. Officials said if they are found to be negative then they will be shifted to Jawarharlal Nehru Stadium where temporary camps have been set up for two-week mandatory quarantine.
Sarma tweeted that �Persons who had congregated at Hazrat Nizamuddin in Delhi and came back to Assam could number less than 100. Government is tracking them down hopeful of quarantining them within next two hours.�
One Qaseem Ali of Morigaon district, who attended the event, told newsmen here that they were not in a group but segregated as per their responsibilities. He said none from Assam had been detected as COVID-19 positive so far.
Another attendee Moinuddin Ahmed said different persons came in groups and given different responsibilities, though he expressed his inability to clearly state how many persons had come from Assam. He said he knows three persons who had come from Guwahati and they were still in Delhi.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) spokesman said that they have shared details of foreign and Indian Tablighi Jamaat delegates in India with all the states on March 21 after COVID-19 positive cases among these attendees surfaced in Telangana.
The swift action was taken to identify, isolate and quarantine Tablighi Jamaat workers who might be COVID-19 positive. Instructions were also issued by the MHA to the chief secretaries and police chiefs of all the states as well as the Commissioner of Police, Delhi. The advisories were reiterated by the Directorate of Intelligence Bureau to all state DGPs on March 28 and 29.
Staff Reporter adds: The Assam health department has issued strict instruction to the district administrations to identify the people who returned to the State after attending the Nizamuddin congregation and quarantine them.
�Many of the people who attended the congregation at Markaz Nizamuddin are said to have tested positive for coronavirus. This morning we got the alert from Delhi. We have appealed to those people to voluntarily show up at the nearest hospital,� Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
Official sources said tracking their mobile towers, police have found the presence of around 80-90 people in the State, indicating that they might have returned.
�I held a video conference with all DCs and have alerted them. As we have the names and addresses of the people, we have asked the administrations to immediately track them by today and bring them to quarantine centres. COVID-19 test will be conducted on them tomorrow,� Sarma said, adding, all police stations have been alerted.
Minister of State for Health Pijush Hazarika said over 180 people from Morigaon district had attended the event, besides a sizeable number from nearby Nagaon.