Markaz Nizamuddin: The New Enemy In India’s Fight Against Covid-19

Markaz Nizamuddin is the international headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat for close to 100 years, where Tablighi Jamat conference was held in phases between March 1 and March 15. 

New Delhi| When the news broke out about hundreds of people being evacuated from Delhi’s Nizammudin area, the outrage that the country witnessed was unprecedented. 7 deaths due to coronavirus were reported that linked to the congregation organized by Tablighi Jamaat group in Delhi’s mosque. The Tablighi Jamat conference was held in phases between March 1 and March 15, with over 2000 attendees, some from overseas too. Markaz Nizamuddin is the international headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat for close to 100 years.

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown on 24th March, he only gave a few hours for people to prepare themselves for this unforeseen shut-down.

Before Delhi reported 24 new cases of coronavirus linked to the congregation, many of the attendees from the state, country and abroad either returned back to their places or were stuck in the mosque post the lockdown.

The recent statement by the Markaz Nizamuddin, on the case filed against the administration of the mosque, says, “During this entire episode, Markaz Nizamuddin never violated any provision of law, and always tried to act with compassion and reason towards the visitors who came to Delhi from different States. It did not let them violate the medical guidelines by thronging ISBTs or roaming on the streets.”

According to the recent report, the health ministry has informed that 303 people from the congregation have symptoms and are going to be tested.

Meanwhile, a vile attack on the religious congregation was launched by social media users. People who may have been infected by the virus during this congregation are called names and blamed for risking the lives of others. Though the latter part seems justifiable, in light of the possibility of many of them being infected with the virus, holding them responsible for not understanding the seriousness of a disease, which many advance countries also didn’t understand initially, sounds unreasonable and unnecessary.

But Markaz Nizamuddin isn’t the first in the list of people being blamed for the spread of the virus.

From Chinese eating habits, Kanika Kapoor being called names, to North Eastern citizens facing racism in cities, we’ve seen a similar pattern of people finding someone to put the blame on.

A flurry of WhatsApp messages and memes started coming in since China put forth the actual numbers of people being affected by the coronavirus. Messages were forwarded where Chinese people were blamed and made fun of for eating random animals and birds.

In reflection of the same message, many citizens from the North-East part of the country were subjected to racial slurs, where one girl was spit at by an old uncle. Many reported that they are being called ‘coronavirus’ on the streets by people. Many from the north-east were also told to evacuate their houses.

Kanika Kapoor also made it to the list when she tested positive for the coronavirus after attending a high-profile party where many political leaders were present. After Prince Charles tested positive for coronavirus, memes were shared on Kanika’s photo with him, suggesting that the singer infected him. She’s also been trolled for being tested 5 times till now, a complete violation of government guidelines for keeping the identity of infected patient anonymous.

A special WHO envoy to India, Dr. David Nabarro, had said, “It’s not the right time to blame anyone. We have a pandemic to fight with and overcome. After we recover from this global crisis, we can discuss who’s responsible for what.”




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