Kejriwal says it’s unfair to blame Tablighi Jamaat for COVID-19 spread

Four of the BJP chief ministers, including Yogi Adityanath, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Manohar Lal Khattar, and Trivendra Singh Rawat, blamed the Markaz event for spreading coronavirus

Tablighi Jamaat, Nizamuddin, coronavirus, COVID-19, Delhi, CM Arvind Kejriwal
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal opined that his government has done fairly well to control the spread of the infection. File photo: PTI

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday (May 2) said it is unfair to pin the blame on one individual or a group for spreading the highly contagious COVID-19, in apparent reference to the Tablighi Jamaat event that was blamed by many for the spike in number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country.

“Coronavirus has spread all over the world. If I say that had people not come to India from outside, coronavirus outbreak would not have happened here. It is unfair to pin the blame on one individual or group,” Kejriwal told Aaj Tak during their special programme e-Agenda.

Four of the BJP chief ministers, including Yogi Adityanath (Uttar Pradesh), Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh), Manohar Lal Khattar (Haryana), and Trivendra Singh Rawat (Uttarakhand), blamed the Markaz event for giving rise to the biggest cluster of coronavirus cases in India.

Defending the Delhi government for its inaction when the event took place, Kejriwal said, “If the local administration and police knew about the event and people’s presence in Nizamuddin, they should have acted. There could have been some people with coronavirus infection inside the Markaz. They stayed there and infection spread.”

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“Delhi has fought the toughest battle against corona. We are the capital. When the rest of the country started with zero cases, we started with 1,700-1,800 cases. We have over 3,700 cases, of which around 1,100 came from Tablighi Jamaat source and another 700-800 from foreign sources,” he said while defending his government’s strategy to battle the pandemic.

“Many flights came with Indian people. In many flights, COVID-19 positive people came. We collaborated with the Centre, quarantined them and made provisions for treatment of those found positive for Covid-19. Then the Markaz incident happened,” he added.

The chief minister opined that his government has done fairly well to control the spread of the infection and “not only did we start with about 1,700-1,800 cases, we quarantined 35,000 people at home. We accommodated 5,000 people at hotels and dharamshalas.”

“If we didn’t work well then, then Delhi would have had 25,000 cases. Seeing national statistics, Delhi has one of the lowest death rates. People are falling sick and getting recovered and going home,” Kejriwal said.

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The chief minister also revealed that there was no political reason behind not sharing details of the Tablighi Jamaat-linked cases separately.

He said, “We were testing 3,200 people. It took some time. Till the time testing was going on, we reported the cases separately. Now, all Markaz contacts have been traced, and no new cases are surfacing from that source. Other sources are contributing now.”

Sounding a protest against all the 11 districts of Delhi being named under red zone, Kejriwal said, “A district should not be a unit of defining red zone, containment area should be taken as red zone.”

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