On March 6, four days after Maharashtra registered its first two COVID-19 cases, the state government realised it would be wise to cancel the event.
Mumbai| The Maharashtra government last month withdrew permission for a Tablighi Jamaat congregation scheduled for March 12 and March 13 as the COVID-19 crisis began to escalate in the state, The Indian Express reported on Friday.
The event was scheduled around the same time as a similar one in Delhi, where thousands of workers of the outfit, including foreigners, gathered, only to return home with COVID-19 infections.
A Tablighi Jamaat ijtema or congregation “expecting attendance of 50,000 people” was planned at Suncity in Vasai on March 12-13. The organisers had received permission for the same earlier in the year. However, on March 6, four days after Maharashtra registered its first two COVID-19 cases, the state government realised it would be wise to cancel the event. The organisers also agreed, officials said.
Home Minister Deshmukh said the organisation initially said they would go ahead with the congregation. “We told them if they went ahead, we will have to take legal action,” he said.
Niket Kaushik, Inspector General (Konkan range) said the state government felt it would not be wise to let so many people gather at a place when the virus was spreading. “Accordingly, we revoked the permission on March 6 and informed them about the same,” he said.
A member of the Tablighi Jamaat said a two-day event was planned in Vasai. There were plans to take the event to several parts of the state including Raigad, Ratnagiri and Pune. “We approached Health Minister Rajesh Tope and told him that a large congregation was expected. He asked us to postpone it. Considering the circumstances, we also decided to cancel it. We informed everyone not to congregate here,” the member said.
India now has 2,301 patients of the fast-spreading disease. Hundreds of these have been linked to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation that took place in Delhi. Seven people – one from Kashmir and six from Telangana – died of COVID-19 in the days following the congregation in Delhi.
(Input from Agencies)