India may not have needed lockdown 3.0 if not for Tablighi Jamaat attendees: Union minister Naqvi
Following the March incident there had been a spike in the number of coronavirus cases in the country, and on April 18 the Ministry of Health had said that 4,291 cases in the country could be linked to the Nizamuddin Markaz cluster.
New Delhi: Union minister for minority affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi claimed that if not for the Tablighi Jamaat event that took place in Delhi at the end of March, India would not have needed a third extension of the novel coronavirus induced lockdown.
While the event even had happened prior to the nationwide lockdown, it had gone against government directives that had urged people to stay home and maintain social distancing norms. In the ensuing days, several of the Jamaat attendees had tested positive for the virus.
Speaking at e-Agenda Aaj Tak, Naqvi held that while all Muslims should not be punished for the "criminal negligence" of Tablighi Jamaat members, it is because of the event that coronavirus spread to all parts of the country.
"Their [Tablighi Jamaat's] crime is not the crime of all Muslims. What they did they will be punished for through legal means... maybe we would not have needed Lockdown 3.0 if such criminal negligence had not taken place and because of one organisation's mistake a nationwide spread would not have happened," he said.
Many Muslim public personalities have said that the COVID-19 pandemic and Nizamuddin Markaz event has been used to spread Islamophobia in the country.
According to the minister, these grievances are not based on facts, but it is an attempt to malign the country's image internationally.
"Today we need hope and not horror, but some people are creating an environment of fear and using it to spread disharmony," he said.
"...Because some people couldn't raise any objections against the inclusive developmental approach of this government in the past 6 years, therefore they are now creating fake and fabricated stories. This is not an issue of Hinduphobia or Islamophobia. It is about the attempt to malign the nation's image internationally," he added.
Naqvi also praised the efforts made by the Muslim community to not give in to any propaganda or fear and fully participate in the government's efforts to stop COVID-19.
"The Muslim community has said no to all propaganda and followed all rules. No mass celebrations at were seen Shab e Raat, no namaz is happening at mosques, no public iftar is happening. Waqf boards have contributed Rs 51 crore to government relief funds. There are 16 Haj houses in the country, they have all contributed their premises to the government to be used as isolation centres," he elaborated.