Aam Aadmi Party MLA Atishi has hit out at Delhi Police for not acting in time against the administration of a mosque in Delhi's Nizamuddin area after seven COVID-19 deaths and at least 24 coronavirus cases were linked to a huge religious gathering at the mosque earlier this month.
Ignoring all social distancing rules to avoid the coronavirus, hundreds had been staying in the 100-year-old "Markaz Nizamuddin" mosque complex, the Delhi headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat group, since the two-day gathering of the Tablighi Jamaat from March 8 to 10. Some 280 were foreigners. The mosque complex has a six-floor dormitory.
Tablighi members reportedly told the police about the congregation on March 24. At the time, there were around 1,200 people inside the mosque complex. A day later, they were taken to the airport by the police. But on March 26, two days into the national lockdown ordered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, people started gathering again at the mosque. There were close 2,000 by the time the police found out.
"The Hazrat Nizamuddin Police Station is right next to Nizamuddin Markaz, as can be seen on Google maps. Why did Delhi Police not take action against Markaz administration when 1000s of people gathered from 13-15th March, in violation of Delhi Govt orders?" Atishi tweeted on Tuesday afternoon.
The Hazrat Nizamuddin Police Stn is right next to Nizamuddin Markaz, as can be seen on Google maps. Why did @DelhiPolice not take action against Markaz administration when 1000s of people gathered from 13-15th March, in violation of Delhi Govt orders? pic.twitter.com/5D32aTCj52— Atishi (@AtishiAAP) March 31, 2020
A police case has been filed against the mosque administration after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal ordered it to be filed over negligence that has endangered hundreds of lives.
Mr Kejriwal met with top ministers and officials ton Tuesday to discuss the mosque case.
"Strong action should be taken against the administrators of the Nizamuddin Markaz who organised a 3-day religious gathering, with 1000s of people from March 13-15, when Delhi government orders had expressly forbidden gatherings or more than 200 persons on 13th March itself," Atishi, the MLA from Delhi's Kalkaji said in a tweet.
"Moreover, notification by Delhi government on March 12 stated that anyone with a travel history from COVID-19 affected countries has to self-isolate, then why did the administrators of the Markaz not ensure isolation of residents coming from those countries?" she said in another tweet.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain told NDTV that the organisers of the gathering "committed a grave crime".
"The organisers committed a grave crime, we have asked the Lieutenant Governor for toughest action," he said.