Reacting to the instances of Muslims being blamed for the increase in COVID-19 cases after Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi Thursday said the entire community cannot be held responsible for one group’s “crime”.
In an interview with news agency PTI, Naqvi said that most of the minority community members have condemned the Jamaat’s action. “Whatever that organisation did, criminal negligence or crime…most Muslims have strongly reacted to it, condemned it and called for action against it. Entire community cannot be held responsible for one person or one organisation’s crime,” he asserted, adding that this has always been India’s culture.
Naqvi said those targeting Muslims are a few isolated people who are trying to spread “misinformation” and “we should be united and isolate such elements”.
The minister’s comments comes a day after he had hit out at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for calling out rising incidents of “Islamophobia” in the country, saying that India is “heaven for Muslims” and those trying to vitiate the atmosphere of prosperity cannot be their friends.
There has been a spurt in instances of discrimination against Muslim community members since the news of Tablighi event broke out. On Tuesday, a 51-year-old man was arrested in Mumbai after he refused to collect groceries from a delivery man after learning that he was a Muslim. On April 19, an FIR was filed against a hospital in Meerut for putting out an advertisement stating that Muslim patients would only be admitted if they showed negative test results for COVID-19. Last week, a hospital in Ahmedabad landed in a soup after it created separate wards for Hindu and Muslim patients, saying it was done allegedly on the directions of the state government.
Last week, the Union Health Ministry had said nearly 30 per cent of the total COVID-19 cases in the country were linked to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in March.
The Union minister said he has spoken with state waqf board officials, social and religious leaders, imams on adherence to the lockdown and social distancing guidelines during the Ramzan month starting Friday or Saturday evening and they have begun creating awareness among the people.
Asked whether Muslims have followed lockdown and social distancing guidelines till now, Naqvi said, “absolutely, the entire country is standing united in this fight against coronavirus.”
“When Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appealed to people with folded hands, he had appealed to 130 crore Indians, it was not based on caste or religion. And everybody responded to his appeal and acted on it,” he added.
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