New Delhi: Eight Malaysian citizens who were about to board a special flight to Malaysia and flee the country were caught Saturday at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. Sources said they had attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Nizamuddin Markaz in the national capital last month. Incidentally, the Markaz has been identified as a hotspot for the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Since the news of the congregation emerged these Malaysians had gone into hiding. So far over 2,000 people have been identified by different state governments in India and all of them have been quarantined. The Malaysians had gone into hiding to avoid quarantine, sources said.
More than a third of the coronavirus cases in India (the figure stands at over 1,000) have been linked to the Jamaat congregation last month. The Tablighi Jammat authorities conducted the congregation defying the government’s message of social distancing. More than 9,000 people who attended the event then dispersed to various parts of the country, leading to a surge of coronavirus cases across India.
The eight Malaysians, who attended last month’s event, were hiding at different places in the national capital, sources said. Airport authorities said they have already been handed over to the They will be handed over to Delhi Police and the health department of the Delhi government for further investigation. The matter comes as the Delhi Police have started tracing cellphone data to identify the people who were present at the Delhi event or in its vicinity.
The Jamaat event was attended by a number of foreigners, who, the authorities said, were misusing their tourist visa by participating in religious events. It should be stated here that someone with a tourist visa cannot attend religious programmes. But all the foreigners who attended the event flouted rules.
The Union Home has promised stern action against these foreigners. In Uttar Pradesh more than 80 such foreigners have been identified and booked. They have been put under quarantine.