Ten people, who had participated in a Tablighi Jamaat event in Nizamuddin in New Delhi in February, and had been put in home quarantine here, have escaped in trucks meant for transportation of medical supplies, police said on Friday.
The 10 had attended the Nizamuddin event on February 22 and 23, and had arrived in Pune on February 26. Many people who had attended the event a little later, in March, have tested positive for novel coronavirus and also spread the disease in people they came in contact with. The emergence of these cases has led to a countrywide hunt for people who had attended the event.
In Pune Division, which comprises the districts of Pune, Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur and Solapur, a total of 258 people who had attended the event were identified. “Out of these, 163 were traced and quarantined. Eight of them have moved out of Pune Division, though they remain in Maharashtra. Seventy-two others are no longer in the state, while there are 15 who we have not been able to trace so far,” said Pune Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar.
In Pune city, the administration had identified 136 people who had attended the Tabligh event in March, but only 78 could be traced. Each one of them was tested, and four of them turned out to be positive for the virus.
Police said the t10 who have fled were not part of these 78 and had not been tested, since they were in the city since last week of February and had attended the Tabligh Jamaat event much earlier. They were put in home quarantine on April 1 as a “precautionary measure” after it had emerged that a large number of people linked to that event had been found to be carrying the virus, said Sandeep Patil, district superintendent of Pune Rural Police.
All 10 are residents of Azad Market in Delhi and stayed at the Chand Tara masjid in Nana Peth area after coming to Pune. Later, they had moved to Shirur for participating in religious activities, police said.
Around 11 am on Friday, police found them missing from the mosque in Shirur where they were quarantined. Inquiry revealed that they had left for Delhi in three trucks that were carrying essential commodities.
Patil said an FIR had been lodged against them, a Maulana of the local masjid where they were quarantined, and the drivers of the three trucks under sections of Indian Penal Code, National Disaster Management Act, and Epidemics Diseases Act.
He said the 10 persons associated with Tablighi Jamaat had not taken part in the Nizamuddin Markaj meet in March. But as they fled during the lockdown even after being home quarantined, Patil confirmed that a first information report has been lodged against them at the Shirur police station.
Meanwhile, one more person linked to the Tabligh event has tested positive for coronavirus. This person had not travelled himself for the event, but had come in contact with those who had attended it. So far, five people linked to that event have tested positive in the city.
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