Mumbai, April 3 (IANS) The Maharashtra government nipped in the bud a potential catastrophe by refusing permission for Tablighi Jamaat convention in Palghar last month, official sources said here on Friday.
The Tablighi Jamaat is currently in the eye of a storm for the sudden spurt in the number of Covid-19 positive cases and deaths around the country as many have links with the Delhi event.
Last January, before Covid-19 knocked the doors in India, Tablighi Jamaat had sought permission to hold a mega-convention with over 50,000 participants from all over India and the world on March 14-15 near Vasai town in Palghar, around 30 kms on the outskirts of Mumbai.
The clearances were requested by Shamim Education & Welfare Society (SEWS) for the event which would include recitations from the Holy Quran, religious discourses, namaz prayers, discussions, etc., at the Diwanman village in Vasai west.
After discussions among the top district and state police brass, the programme was given a tentative green signal on Feb. 05, when Covid-19 had already entered the country.
However, as Maharashtra came into the grip of the Coronavirus in a big way and the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared it as a global ‘pandemic’, alarm bells started ringing in the state government.
Taking a serious view, the Home Ministry swung into action and on March 6, cancelled all the permissions granted by the local police for the Tablighi Jamaat event.
“We have strictly warned the organisers against holding any such congregation in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemica Now, seeing the chaos all over after the Delhi convention, it appears our timely precaution has prevented a similar situation from developing in Maharashtra,” Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said.
The state government’s move proved to be a savior as on March 24 Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced a Maharashtra alockdown’, followed by a national lockdown from March 25 declared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He added that the Delhi event’s repercussions have shaken the whole country as many of the participants and their contacts have been infected by Covid-19 now.
“If the Delhi home ministry had displayed a similar presence of mind and reacted swiftly, it could have helped prevent the spread and its massive fallout we are now witnessing,” Deshmukh said.
Incidentally, though the Palghar convention was cancelled, Maharashtra continues to bear the brunt of the Delhi meet which was attended by around 1,400 from the state.
While most participants have been identified and a few traced, a massive hunt is underway to track the others, while around 300 are in quarantine in different parts of the state including Mumbai.
The first Covid-19 case was reported in India on Jan. 30 which has today shot up to over 2,300, besides more than 55 deaths, and Maharashtra has 423 cases plus 20 deaths so far.