New Delhi, March 31 (IANS) Delhi Police has identified 1,830 persons, including 501 from Tamil Nadu and 216 from Assam, who attended a religious congregation at the Tablighi Jamaat''s international headquarters in southwest Delhi from March 13-15, even as 24 coronavirus positive cases have been reported from among those who congregated.
According to senior Delhi Police officers, said that those identified till now include 156 from Uttar Pradesh, 109 from Maharashtra, 107 from Madhya Pradesh, 86 from Bihar, 73 from West Bengal, 55 from Hyderabad, 45 from Karnataka, 46 from Ranchi, 34 from Uttarakhand, 22 from Haryana, 15 each from Himachal Pradesh and Kerala, 19 from Rajasthan, 21 from Andaman and Nicobar Islands, 15 from Odisha and nine from Punjab.
Besides, 281 foreign nationals also attended the congregation at the religious group''s international headquarters Nizamuddin Markaaz in the middle of Nizamuddin colony in southwest Delhi.
The Delhi Police source said that it was working on the number of people from Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi who were present there.
The source said that the force was trying to identify the families of the persons who attended the programme to put them into quarantine centres after tests.
Meanwhile, the 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.
"When the Prime Minister announced the Janata Curfew to be observed on March 22, the ongoing programme in the centre was discontinued immediately."
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 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@example.com)