Taking cognizance of media reports stating that at least 200 people attendees of the Markaz congregation at Delhi’s Nizamuddin have travelled to the state, the Gujarat High Court Wednesday sought a detailed status report from the Centre as well as the state government by April 3. Nizamuddin has emerged as one of COVID-19 hotspots, prompting many states to launch a massive search for the attendees.
The state submitted that the Gujarat government “is already in the process of identifying and tracing not only the members of the said congregation having travelled to Gujarat but also the details of the other persons coming in close contact with the said members”.
Advocate General Kamal Trivedi also submitted that “Gujarat does not have complete information of all the members who were participants in the said congregation and then travelled to Gujarat,” and that the state government is working on the same on the “basis of the partial information”.
DGP Shivanand Jha stated in the evening that until now, based on the list received from the central government and technical data, 72 such persons have been identified, including one who died earlier. The remaining 71 are in quarantine.
Assistant Solicitor General representing the Centre submitted before the High court the the details of Tablighi Jamaat workers across the country are being gathered and compiled. “However, the said exercise is dependent on the cooperation and accurate details being given by Tablighi Jamaat Headquarters at Nizamuddin, New Delhi. As and when the same is available, the same would be shared with the concerned State immediately.”
It was also submitted that approximately 2000 foreign preachers of Tablighi Jamaat entered India on tourist visas as against missionary visas, the latter of which, according to the ASG, “are location and event specific and entail thorough scrutiny.”
The HC has now sought a detailed status report from the Centre of all persons who entered Gujarat and were party to the Tablighi Jamaat regardless of nationality. In case it is a foreign national, details sought include nationality, purpose of their visit and nature of visas for those foreign nationals.
From the state government, the High Court has sought a status report that shall include details shared by the Union of India with the State of Gujarat and the steps taken by the State of Gujarat with regard to identifying those individuals who attended the congregation. In case a said person is untraceable, the High Court has directed the state to give details of the same too.
The court warned that “in the event the report as required to be submitted by the previous order of 27th March, 2020 and as directed by this order are not found to be satisfactory on the next date of hearing, the Court will issue necessary directions and may proceed to take such coercive measures as may be deemed appropriate.”
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