Tablighi Jamaat: Himanta Biswa Sarma meets Tablighi Jamaat leaders, seeks list of Assam attendees

GUWAHATI: Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has met Tablighi Jamaat leaders here and urged them to hand over the list of all the people from the state who had attended the outfit’s event in Delhi.

A total of 26 COVID-19 cases have been reported in Assam and all barring one are related to the Tablighi Jamaat event organised in the national capital’s Nizamuddin area in March.

“In view of situation arising out of the Nizamuddin Markaj event, we met Guwahati Lakhtokia Masjid leaders where HQ of Tablighi Jamaat is situated on Saturday to request them to share list of all who visited Markaz for it’s important to quarantine them,” Sarma said in a tweet on Sunday.

The state health minister on Saturday asked the imams and amirs of mosques to submit the names of people in their areas who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat event and warned of action if they fail to do so by Sunday.

“Nizamuddin is an evolving story with several cases having connection with the congregation but we have not got the desired cooperation from the mosques,” Sarma had said.

Terming the situation “very serious”, Sarma appealed to all those who attended the Jamaat congregation to call helpline number 104 or contact health workers so that their samples could be tested and their contacts traced.

Altogether, 1,529 samples have been tested so far, with 812 of them having links to the Nizamuddin event, he said.

The number of coronavirus positive cases is swelling as the disease is spreading due to the infection caused by Nizamuddin returnees “from Silchar in Barak Valley to Lakhimpur in upper Assam, Morigaon in central Assam to Kamrup and Nalbari in lower Assam”, the minister said.

Of the 26 COVID-19 cases in the state, Golaghat district has reported the highest with nine followed by Nalbari and Morigaon with four each, Goalpara with three, Cachar with two and Kamrup (Metro), Kamrup, Lakhimpur and South Salmara with one each, health officials said.

Sarma, while visiting Golaghat Civil hospital on Friday, assured the isolated coronavirus patients that they are not being targeted and urged them to cooperate with healthcare providers.

“This virus can infect any community and due to an unfortunate situation, it infected people of a certain community. A community must not think that they are being targeted. No one has such intentions. Tomorrow I, too, may get infected… anybody can be.

“England’s crown prince and prime minister have been infected. Anybody who tests positive should not think they are being targeted. Doctors have been told to explain to these patients about the infection to dispel their misconceptions,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, a Congress MLA from Assam with travel history to Delhi on March 16 has been placed under quarantine for 28 days, health officials said.

The legislator had gone to Delhi in connection with a Supreme Court case, met his lawyer and spent two hours at Assam House there before returning to the state the same day, they said.

After his return to his constituency, health authorities had taken his sample and advised him to remain in home quarantine, the officials said.

“The doctors are regularly conducting my health check-ups. I am fine but I will stay home quarantined as per their advice,” the MLA said.

The legislator also appealed to people who had travelled in March by any mode of transportation to self- report to health authorities.

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