Coronavirus outbreak | Tablighi Jamaat meet fall-out: 40 city preachers isolated, search on for 110 more

Updated: Apr 02, 2020, 07:18 IST | Faizan Khan | Mumbai

With community's help, cops step up contact-tracing to screen, isolate those who attended March meet in Delhi and those who came in touch with them

Health workers sanitise area near Nizamuddin mosque in New Delhi. Pic/PTI
Health workers sanitise area near Nizamuddin mosque in New Delhi. Pic/PTI

After launching a massive manhunt for more than 150 members of the Tablighi Jamaat who returned from the Markaz Nizamuddin congregation, the Mumbai police traced over 40 till Wednesday and sent them into self-quarantine. Some of these came forward with the help of community leaders and self-quarantined themselves.

Theirsamples are being tested for Coronavirus. The hunt was launched on Monday after the Special Branch received their details. The attendees are suspected to have come in contact with COVID-19 patients at the Markaz.

According to sources, the Mumbai police commissioner called a high-level meeting on Wednesday and instructed the force to trace everyone on the list. "The list has details of over 150 people, 45 of them are foreign nationals from different countries. They returned to the city after attending the congregation at Markaz Nizamuddin in the middle of March. The priority is to locate and quarantine all of them," a senior official told mid-day.

Police personnel conduct a search operation for attendees in Delhi's Nizamuddin area in the city of Prayagraj on Wednesday. Pic/PTI
Police personnel conduct a search operation for attendees in Delhi's Nizamuddin area in the city of Prayagraj on Wednesday. Pic/PTI

Police teams have been deployed at several locations across Mumbai, especially at places which have a large presence of Tablighi Jamaat Members. The Jamaat's Mumbai headquarters is at Mohammed Ali Road, known as Chunabhatti Markaz Masjid, which decided the movement of Tablighi Jamaat after they arrived from Nizamuddin. Apart from Chunabhatti Markaz (centre), the Jamaat has other centres at Kurla Pipe Road, near Khar railway station and in Jogeshwari. BMC officials too have been deployed at these locations.

"These centres decide the movement of preachers who arrive from different countries and from other states and cities within India. Those arriving from outside India stay for four months or forty days. They visit different parts of the country and stay in different mosques. Their stay is well-organised by the management," an Islamic preacher told mid-day.

The police have reached out to religious leaders of the community for the exercise. "We are making all attempts to trace them and avoid the further spread of Coronavirus," the officer added. Hundreds of Tablighi Jamaat members have also been traced in Maharashtra.

The police remained tight-lipped about the exact number of attendees in Mumbai. "We cannot reveal the number of people as of now. The priority is to locate everyone who came from the Markaz and those who came in contact with these people, our teams are working on it and all will be traced soon," a senior IPS officer said.

The Navi Mumbai police commissionerate, on the other hand, was given a list of 34 people including attendees and those who came in contact with them. Out of these, 10 have come forward and are cooperating with the police. All are in self-quarantine and their samples have been taken.

The Thane Police traced more than 15 of the 24 people by Wednesday and sent them into self-quarantine.

Around 10 people in Telangana and Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) who had attended the event at Nizamuddin, New Delhi have died after contracting the virus. More than 300 have been quarantined while several hundred are being traced by authorities to contain the spread of the infection. Over 128 positive cases with links to the event have been identified.

No. of attendees in other Maharashtra cities

. Ahmednagar: Of the 45 people traced, 29 are foreign nationals from Indonesia, Malaysia, Ghana and South Africa

. Pune: 30 attendees from Nizamuddin Markaz traced in Pune; all quarantined

. Pune rural: 18 Indian attendees traced

. Nashik rural: 10 attendees trace and quarantined

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