An audio clip that is now going viral suggests that Mohammad Saad Kandhawali, the head of Markaz Tablighi Jamaat had asked people to flout social distancing instructions as put out by the government. It is being presumed that the voice in the undated clip belongs to Maulana Saad.
According to an IANS report, the person in the clip can be heard saying that "there is no need of social distancing also it is not written anywhere in our religion".
India Today too accessed the recording. In it, the individual can he beard saying that the perception that congregating in the mosque will spread illness is wrong.
"If you think you will die if you assemble in a masjid, let me tell you, there is no better place to die," he assures. Lamenting the fact that people "can't even pray", he added that "they" wanted people to stop praying so that it wouldn't add to their difficulties.
"They fear us assembling and praying," he opined.
The person in the clip also said that "Allah is punishing us because we are not offering namaz". He added that 'they' erroneously believed the opposite. Calling it the "Devil's ideology" he said that while they claimed that they "understand the situation better" they were not right.
"We will only accept that doctor's advice who follows the path of Allah and fears the almighty," he declared. However, even such a doctor would be ignored if he gave them similar advice, he declared.
According to IANS, Jamaat Headquarter's spokesman Mohd. Ashraf said that "those who have been booked by the police include the people who went to meet Nizamuddin SHO on March 23-24 along with Saad". He was talking with regards the clip.
Responding to a query regarding the Maulana's absence, Ashraf said that he had met Saad a week ago."Since then I have neither met him nor contacted him in any way. It is possible that he may be staying with a relative or has returned to Kandhla," he told IANS.
According to a Delhi Police crime branch source, a search is on for Maulana Saad and his companions. Police teams are conducting raids at many places but have not found them so far.
Delhi Police officials believe that the voice in the clip is the Maulana's. This was revealed to IANS by a source in the Crime Branch. Hindustan Times too quoted a policce source who spoke to the publication on condition of anonymity.
According to the individual the tape is an important piece of evidence.
"Instead of making arrangements (to send visitors back), the head wilfully misled the gathering and asked them to stay put. The case against him and others has been registered under sections of criminal conspiracy and the Epidemic Diseases Act," an investigating officer told the publication.