Two days after The Indian Express reported on the continued confinement of over 3,000 members of the Tablighi Jamaat at different quarantine centres in Delhi long past they had tested negative, the Indians among them have been allowed to go home.
Those who belong to other countries, however, will be placed now in the custody of the Delhi Police. The Special CEO of the District Disaster Management Authority, K S Meena, wrote to all deputy commissioners in Delhi on Saturday evening saying that 2,446 Indians who are in quarantine centres and have tested negative as per protocol be returned to their states. The 567 foreign nationals, Meena wrote, will be placed in the custody of the Delhi Police, “as per directions of Ministry of Home Affairs”.
The Indians allowed to return to home states cannot stay anywhere other than “their place of residence”, with the order saying they can’t stay in “any other places, including any masjids etc”.
The Tablighi members need passes before they move out. Saturday’s order says, “It should be ensured by the Nodal Officer appointed by the DCs (deputy commissioners) concerned and the area ACPs that the aforesaid persons reach their place of residence and the same is recorded.”
For those returning to their home states, the DCs have to gather details and find out what their mode of journey will be, before issuing passes. The resident commissioners of these states would then be informed of their movement, with a copy of the same provided to the Delhi Police.
The Tablighi Jamaat members had been put in quarantine after its headquarters in South-East Delhi, where a gathering was held in end March, was vacated. Eventually, the gathering had emerged as a coronavirus cluster, with cases across the country traced to it. In Delhi, 1080 members tested positive.
The others continue to be kept in quarantine centres despite testing negative and completing the mandatory quarantine period. Some have been there for over a month.The Delhi government had said it had written to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on April 17 and May 3 seeking “directions and protocols” on the release of the Tablighi members, saying they “have not only tested negative but also completed more than 28 days of stay in hospitals/quarantine facilities”.
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