National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Tuesday claimed the detection of coronavirus in scores of people who attended a weeks-long event organised by Tablighi Jamaat at a famous Delhi mosque has provided an opportunity to "some to vilify Muslims". The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said those tweeting with hashtags like "Tablighi virus" are "more dangerous" that any virus nature can conjure up.
"Now the #TablighiJamat will become a convenient excuse for some to vilify Muslims everywhere as if we created & spread #COVID around the world," he said in a series of tweets.
"At first glance it would appear the #TablighiJamat were nothing if not irresponsible in the way they went about things but that's not unique to them. The majority of Muslims in India have heeded government guidelines and advice the same as anyone else," he added.
For the record this was the statement put out by them clarifying their position & the steps taken by them. The stink of communalism in a lot of the criticism is nauseating. pic.twitter.com/htTJb1z1MM— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) March 31, 2020
People tweeting stuff with hash tags like Tablighi virus are more dangerous than any virus nature could ever conjure up because their minds are sick while their bodies may very well be healthy.— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) March 31, 2020
Ninety-one people who attended the event at Delhi's Nizamuddin from March 1-15 have tested positive for the virus. Seven people have died because of the disease contracted at the function.
Over 2,000 delegates, including from Indonesia and Malaysia, attended the congregation and stayed at a building adjacent to the religious place. 1100 have been evacuated and quarantined in the national capital. A massive manhunt is on to trace those who have gone back.
In a statement, Markaz Nizamuddin defended itself saying the event was cancelled when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the "Janata Curfew" for March 22. Members could not leave, it said, because trains were suddenly stopped.
PM Modi last week said social distancing was the only option to fight the virus; he also announced a 3-week nationwide lockdown to check the spread.
1,397 people have tested positive for coronavirus in India, with 35 deaths.