The Govt. and RSS-BJP running the Central Govt. came out of political quarantine to which they had been confined by their mindless handling of the Corona outbreak, as the news of cases from Tableegh’s gathering at Nizamuddin Markaz surfaced. They sensed the opportunity to brandish their communal knife which was getting rusted since the outbreak of Corona, though they had tried their best to utilize the situation less for fighting Corona and more for suppressing the people including the peaceful and orderly gatherings against CAA NPR NRC being held observing all commands by the Central and state govts. and much more, as for example the one at Shaheen Bagh.
By one-sided propaganda, the Central and state govts. have tried to brush away their own inaptitude, mistakes of omission and commission to lay the blame on Tableegh for the outbreak of Coronavirus, obviously with profuse support from the corporate controlled media. They sought to brush under the carpet the larger picture i.e. of permitting arrivals through flights including from countries where novel corona cases were already reported without mandatory precautions. After all those coming were the rich and connected. They also sought to make the people forget the tremendous hardships that were thrust on the poor sections of working people through the mindlessly planned and senselessly executed lock down which has no parallel except probably in demonetization. Corona pandemic has engulfed many countries but where have you seen people being mercilessly thrashed by the police as in Delhi, UP, Punjab etc. All this is to be brushed aside in the new found villain of Corona spread.
Tableegh Jamaat Congregation was held in Delhi from March 1 to 15. Thousands assembled there. But why blame them alone? Such congregations were taking place in many places. Reportedly forty thousands were at Tirupati, a large number at Vaishno Devi and other religious places. The Govt. did not then wake up to the need to stop the spread of Corona. UP CM himself led a Ram Lalla procession during the lock down! Why did the PM have to wait till 24th to announce the lockdown; why not in continuity to Janata Curfew on 22nd March. Was it not to facilitate swearing in of Shivraj Chouhan Govt. in Madhya Pradesh on March 23?
Let us take Tableegh congregation. A large number of people participated from abroad. Visas to them were granted by the Central Govt. Even if visas were given earlier, why were these not cancelled? The fact is that the Govt. itself is guilty of gross underestimation of the danger of spread of Coronavirus and is now using Tableegh as a scapegoat to cover its own failure. Govt. wishes to avoid scrutiny of its own culpability. Tableegh officials are showing the request letters for permits for buses to take out those who were stranded there (“remain where you are” call) they wrote to the DCP and Additional Commissioner (Central Govt.) and SDM and DM (Govt. of NCT Delhi). These letters were received by these authorities but why was this request not granted nor any arrangement made by the Govts. The two Govts. have not disputed the authenticity of these letters. TV channels ran an interview of a police official telling the Tableegh officials to disperse the people but nowhere he talked of any arrangement made for this. Or was he unaware of the lockdown? As a matter of fact, buses and road transport was totally off the roads from 21st March. Delhi govt. had extended the ban on 23rd morning after ‘Janata Curfew’ on March 22. No passenger trains left Delhi after 4 AM of March 22. How were these people supposed to leave is the question the two Govts. are not answering. Probably it was kept pending for the TV visuals that Nizamuddin Markaz be emptied under the watchful eyes of omnipresent Ajit Doval. Why this could not be done more efficiently and timely and why so spectacularly? Why did Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal Govts. not concentrate on implementing plans for mitigating the sufferings of the people due to lock down?
As for Tableegh, it is not fair to put criminal cases against them while no questions are being asked for so many other functions were held simultaneously and even on later dates. Why no action against the others? Why no action against the officials who permitted the entry of foreigners or against the officials concerned who took no step to facilitate sending away of those stranded in Markaz. This appears is a deliberate communal vendetta.
While putting criminal cases against Tableegh officials is an act of vendetta but they do bear moral and social responsibility? Why were they so careless about the safety and health of their own preachers and followers? Why they were oblivious to the danger such spread of infection poses for society at large. Tableegh leader who now has come out with a call for Tableegh followers to take medical precautions and treatment is also shown claiming that Corona cannot infect people of faith. Only Corona had other designs! You may take care of the after-life but why push the people to it! In a Video a Tableegh official is seen claiming that there was no Corona positive case while a large number of those who were there tested positive and many have died. Why they did not complain about the patients inside their premises and not show such letters of having made such representations like the ones they showed about permits for buses? Why push so many people having faith in them to an early deliverance? Why two standards, one for the common believers who are supposed to wait for their death, and one for organizers who are claiming to practice quarantine? Though it is no surprise. It is well known how those who claim treatment of every known or even unknown ailment can be found in the scriptures, flock to hospitals for their own treatment rather than practising what they preach. Tableegh officials should have taken the help of and should cooperate with health personnel in saving lives of those afflicted and saving from affliction those not yet afflicted.
Don’t blame the people for their backwardness or obscurantism. This is being promoted and perpetuated by the ruling classes who do not want the public health services to be strengthened as evidenced by miniscule amount allotted to Health in Budget. The organizations preaching backwardness are linked to and patronized by the ruling classes who wish that the people should not demand accountability. Their strength is due to their links to ruling class politics and not in the backwardness of people, speaking about which is a favourite pastime for the proponents and apologists of the system.
People should see through this motivated communal propaganda. Govts. should care for the safety and health of every person living in India, belonging to any faith or persuasion, and not indulge in parceling off blame for their own failures. They need to focus on containing the spread caused by their laggardness, and contain caring for the people. Every person afflicted or exposed to the danger deserves all sympathy and care.