The Tablighi Jamaat Case and How India Topped a Global Index of Religious Bias During COVID ( The Wire )

After two years of closure, the Delhi Police handed over the keys of the Nizamuddin Markaz to its owners. This was one of the events which put India at the top of COVID-related hostilities against certain religious groups.

The home ministry had blacklisted 2,550 Tablighi Jamaat members from nearly 40 countries who were staying in India during the nationwide coronavirus lockdown. Photo: PTI/File

The order of the Delhi high court asking the Delhi Police to hand over the keys of the Nizamuddin Markaz to its owners went unnoticed by most of us.

Close on the heels of this order appeared a report by the Pew Research Centre, a Washington-based think tank, that put India at the top of its index of COVID-19-related hostilities against certain religious groups by the state or a section of society in 2020.

In India it started with the Nizamuddin Markaz. An international congregation of the Tablighi Jamaat from different countries took place at the Markaz in March 2020. There was nothing unusual about the event. All foreigners had valid visas. The event was officially permitted. There was no restriction on any gathering before the event. There were no travel restrictions.

In fact, just before this gathering, a huge crowd, numbering more than one lakh, was organised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad to welcome the then US president Donald Trump.

The government had criticised Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi for talking about the threat of the coronavirus and said that there was no need to take any extraordinary steps. The parliament was convened. The then chair of the Rajya Sabha and the vice-president, Venkaiah Naidu, had threatened the MPs, who had come to the house with face masks, with disciplinary action.

All this meant that no alarms were raised, no gatherings prohibited, no one traveling from other countries disallowed from entering the country. The government was not even discouraging travels or gatherings.

This story was originally published in . Read the full story here

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