On Saturday Union Minister for Minority Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi alleged that if not for the Tablighi Jamaat event that took place in Delhi at the end of March, India would not have needed a third extension of the novel coronavirus induced lockdown.
While the Delhi even had happened prior to the pan-India lockdown, it had gone against government directives that had urged people to stay home and maintain social distancing norms. In the ensuing days, several of the Jamaat attendees had tested positive for the virus. Additionally, the conference attendees had travelled to other parts of India, thus spreading the virus to other areas. Following the March incident there had been a spike in the number of positive cases in the country, and on April 18 the Ministry of Health had said that 4,291 cases in the country could be linked to the Nizamuddin Markaz cluster.
Speaking at the e-Agenda Aaj Tak, Naqvi was quoted by India Today as saying that Lockdown 3.0 might not have been needed if not for the "criminal negligence" of the organisation.
"Their crime is not the crime of all Muslims. What they did will be punished through legal means... maybe we would not have needed Lockdown 3.0 if such criminal negligence had not taken place and because of one organisation's mistake a nationwide spread would not have happened," he was quoted as saying by the publication.
This is not the first time Naqvi has criticised the Tablighi Jamaat congregation. Earlier, at the end of April, the Union Minister had taken to took to Twitter to talk about the Tablighi Jamaat event.
Naqvi said that while Tablighi Jamaat members had "committed sin", it was wrong to consider "every Indian Muslim as Tablighi". Calling it a case of “chori aur seena zori", he added that the same Tablighi members who had committed a sin and spread the novel coronavirus through their “criminal conduct” were now claiming that they were “corona warriors”.
“Instead of being ashamed of their crime, Tablighi are insulting lakhs of coronavirus warriors,” Naqvi had tweeted.