Updated: April 2, 2020 1:05:48 pm
With many cases of coronavirus across the country linked to a gathering of the Muslim religious organisation Tablighi Jamaat, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday cautioned against giving the disease a communal colour.
At a press conference, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said there was no need to “sensationalise” the Tablighi Jamaat issue.
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, however, criticised the organisation, saying it had “damaged the country” and asking people to stay away from it.
Regretting the fact that social media was being used for a “communal harvest” over COVID-19, Pinarayi said, “Coronavirus does not infect anyone looking at religion. What is important is that we stay together and remain vigilant. We should remember the exemplary action of all sections of society who have abandoned public gatherings at the behest of the government.”
While 60 people in Kerala have been identified as having attended the gathering held in Delhi, around 70 in West Bengal have been traced back to it. Pinarayi said all those in the state who visited the meeting had been traced, and were under observation. “All of them have been quarantined. There is no need for any concern,” he said.
Mamata said, “Fifty-four persons have been identified, including 40 foreigners. We came to know some persons in Dinajpur, Magrahat and other places are still unidentified. We are hopeful that within one day we will identify 30 more persons and will send them to quarantine.”
Nine people in Goa were Wednesday linked to the Delhi gathering, with their questioning on to determine if they knew of others who attended it. The nine, who came to Goa on March 11, are in quarantine.
Even as the Goa government appealed to people to voluntarily come forward if they had attended or come in contact with anyone who had been at the congregation, Sawant asked for “severe punishment” for those who had been part of it.
“The Tablighi Jamaat has damaged the country. They have put the country in trouble by the manner in which they allowed (COVID-19) to spread,” the CM said at a press meeting. “We have to be careful about those from the Tablighi. They should be punished according to me.”
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