New Delhi: Triggering serious concerns, the police has found that more than 500 foreign Muslim preachers linked to the Tablighi Jamaat at Markaz Nizamuddin have been staying in over 15 mosques in the national capital after the event.

They are hiding in different places as they are unable to move out of the country due to the lockdown announced by the central government in view of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

A police, according to a report in IANS, said that during raids conducted by the Delhi Police in several places across the national capital, these preachers were found to be hiding in 16-17 places.

The police officer further that the Special Branch (Intelligence Department) and Delhi Police Crime Branch are working relentlessly to find those preachers, who attended the Tablighi Jamaat event in Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi last month as they are suspected to be infected with the dreaded coronavirus.

According to Delhi Police Crime Branch sources, the Tablighi members helped all these foreign guests. An information was sent to all the mosques and madrasas in the national capital to make arrangements for their stay.

A few days ago, Delhi Police had found 173 such indigenous as well as foreign preachers who had attended the Markaz event.

Their names were given to the Delhi government’s health department so that they could be immediately quarantined. According to the list, 160 people including 5 foreign national women out of 173 were from other countries.

According to Delhi Police sources, the largest number of foreigners have been found hiding in North Eastern, South Eastern, Rohini, Southern districts, and to some extent in West Delhi.

As the Tabligh-e-Jamaat’s Markaz in Nizamuddin West emerged as a major COVID-19 hotspot, the Centre had on Wednesday directed all states and Union territories to “immediately trace, screen and quarantine” the estimated 2000 foreigners who attended the religious gathering.

The home ministry in a letter addressed to state chief secretaries and police chiefs also said that if any foreigner tests negative for the deadly coronavirus, then he should be “immediately deported by the first available flight”.

The advisory further said that foreign teams of the Jamaat are on tour to the hinterland of India, and appear to be potential carriers of the
coronavirus disease.

The ministry on Thursday blacklisted 960 foreigners on tourist visas from 41 countries for their participation in Tablighi Jamaat activities organised at Islamic headquarters in Nizamuddin.

Indonesia, Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and Sri Lanka are among the 41 top countries from where these foreigners came from.

The MHA has also directed the DGPs of all states and Union territories
and the Commissioner of Police, Delhi to take necessary legal action against such violators, on priority, under relevant sections of the Foreigners Act, 1946 and Disaster Management Act, 2005.

According to the Health Ministry update, around 647 positive cases found across 10 states and Union Territories in the last two days have links to the Tablighi Jamaat cluster in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area.

Defying lockdown orders and social distancing rules, the Markaz building, which is the international headquarters of ‘Tablighi Jamaat’ from around the last 100 years, continued to house about 2,000 people from different parts of the country and world.

Following the event, several hundreds across states complained of COVID-19 like symptoms after which the Delhi Police sealed off the Nizamuddin area.

With inputs from IANS