Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has said that he felt pained to discuss the issue of Tablighi Jamaat and their alleged role in the spread of the COVID-19 in India ‘over and over again.’
Responding to his party colleague and Rajya Sabha MP, GVL Narasimha Rao, the health minister said, “The truth of the matter is this issue has become old and this topic has been debated and analysed enough. I feel pained to raise the matter over and over again.” Rao had asked if the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi in March was a take-off point for corona in India?’
Harsh Vardhan said that the Tablighi Jamaat episode was a sad development and there was no need to keep revisiting the subject time and again. The health minister added that the Nizamuddin Markaz episode served as a lesson to people from all communities that they ought to follow the guidelines outlined by the government.
“But, there’s no need to discuss that topic again since most of them were traced and treated,” Harsh Vardhan said adding that he recently bid farewell to many Tablighi members to their home states such as Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Jammu and Kashmir after they had spent 28 days in quarantine.
The Tablighi Jamaat had come under fire from many for not calling off their three-day global summit at Delhi’s Nizamuddin Markaz even when the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc across the globe. They continued to host delegates from countries that had been placed under the high-risk category by the Indian government. The decision by the Tablighi Jamaat officials to go ahead with their scheduled global meet also raised eyebrows in light of the Saudi government calling off the Umrah pilgrimage to stop the spread of the virus.
#WATCH: Enough has been discussed & debated about it. I feel bad to raise this issue every now & then: Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on being asked by BJP’s GVL Narasimha Rao, “If Tablighi Jamaat event was a take of point for corona in India?” pic.twitter.com/yqsP33JhIb
— ANI (@ANI) May 24, 2020
The development of Nizamuddin Markaz had given the much-needed fodder to India’s right-wing media outlets, particularly TV channels, to demonise Muslims by blaming them for the spread of coronavirus in India. This Islamophobia led to India’s right-wing brigade calling for the economic boycott of Muslims in India.
Indian TV channels such as Zee News and news agency ANI were called out for spreading fake news maligning the members of the Tablighi Jamaat.