By Abdul Bari Masoud
NEW DELHI: Debunking the propaganda that foreign Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) members brought coronavirus in the country, Maulana Syed Arshad Madani, President, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind on Sunday asserted that out of 1640 foreign TJ members who came to India in February and March only one of them has died due to Covid-19 while only a few of them reportedly found positive but later declared Covid negative. He also deplored the central government for its silence over the demonizing drive run by a section of media and certain BJP state governments’ ministers against the Muslim community. He described the anti- Muslim propaganda as a well- planned conspiracy to divert attention from the migrant workers crisis and the government’s failures in the wake of abrupt implementation of lockdown.
While presenting foreign Tablighi members’ statistics stuck in India due to the ongoing lockdown, he alleged that it is unfortunate that a section of media particularly electronic media has demonised Indian Muslims under pretext of Tablighi Jamaat event at its headquarters in Markaz Nizamuddin with a subtle support of some people in the Modi government.
“The malicious propaganda against the Muslim community cannot be run without the support or at the instructions of the people in the government.”
Maulana Madani said that there were a total of 1640 foreign nationals from 47 different countries who came to the Tablighi Jamaat Markaz. Out of which only about 64 cases were found negative in the medical examination while only two of them were died, he noted. While these 64 persons were declared Covid-19 positive but later their reports were found negative and all of them were recovered.
The breakup of foreign nationals of TJ are as follow: Indonesia 777, Malaysia 170,Bangladesh 151,Burma 118,Thailand 86 Kyrgyzstan 51, Kazakhstan 44, Sudan 24, Singapore 3, South Africa 1, Saudi Arabia 1, Philippines 8, Russia 1, Sri Lanka 44, Nigeria 10, Mozambique 9, Morocco 2, Nepal 2. Iran 15, Palestine 3, Ivory Coast 12, Ghana 1, France 5, Gambia 2, Ethiopia 8, Djibouti 10, Mali 1, China 4, UK 4, Congo 1, USA 2, Vietnam 12, Trinidad and Tobago 2, Tanzania 12, Tunisia 1, Brunei 3, Belgium 1, Thailand 6, Australia 2, Algeria 7, Fiji 15, Senegal 1, and Afghanistan 4.
Out of these foreign TJ members 739 from different nationalities were stuck at the headquarters of TJ, Nizamuddin Markaz after the lockdown announced on March 22, and remaining were stranded in the rest of India.
The statistics exposed false propaganda about Tablighi Jamaat members being the carrier of Covid-19. By using this pretext, a section of the media had created an atmosphere of hatred against Muslims in the country resulting in their boycott at several places in the country. “This hate-filled atmosphere even led to attacks on the members of the community, killing them in mob lynching, boycotting vegetable and fruit sellers. These acts were in clear violation of the law which brought disrepute to the country but the authorities did not act against perpetrators of hate crimes while the central government remained a silent spectator,” he noted.
Maulana Madani pointed out that the media and the government, while presenting the statistics related to covid-19 cases, classified cases in terms of Tablighi Jamaat saying that out of total cases today came to light 20 percent belonged to Tablighi Jamaat while it was ranged from 25% to 30%. Even though Tablighi Jamaat members released their videos pronouncing that they had gone through medical examinations and they had come clean of any virus.
“Thus, not only the media but also even some ministers from certain state governments used the opportunity to defame the Muslim community by blaming Tablighi Jamaat for the spread of Covid-19 and the media played up their statements with exaggerated version.”
As of now the government has reported over 90,000 cases of Covid-19 across the country. Maulana posed a pointed question to the government: why do the government and media not have been presenting the communal break up covid-19 cases as earlier they used to do so.
Despite objection raised by World Health Organization (WHO) and other international organizations on this communal tinged practice, the Modi government continued to provide separate data in its daily health bulletins till the goal (hatred against Muslims) has not been achieved, he added.
He lamented that the media also targeted and humiliated Tablighi Jamaat amir, Maulana Mohammad Saad and his family and blamed him for the spread of coronavirus and even their false propaganda had forced the authorities to put locks on the headquarters of the Tablighi Markaz. Maulana Saad himself and his family members were also tested negative. Even Saad’s father-in-law Maulana Salman, Rector Mazahair Uloom, Saharanpur and his children also found negative to Covid-19, said Maulana Madani.
“At a time when millions of migrant workers and labourers are on roads walking to home without any safety, thousands of them are facing starvation, and hundreds of them met with tragic deaths in accidents so far, but the media’s single minded approach and focus on the Tablighi Jamaat seems to be a well-thought out strategy and conspiracy at the behest some people in the government. “
He said these elements are pushing the country into religious and communal conundrums who cannot be called as patriotic people but traitors.