As many as 300 foreigners from 16 countries had attended the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi in March (representational image) | Photo : Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
Nearly 4,000, including foreigners, had attended the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi (representational image) | Photo : Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
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New Delhi: Non-resident Indians across the Hindu and Muslim communities in the US have condemned an “escalation of Islamophobia” in India in the wake of several Covid-19 cases among participants of Islamic missionary movement Tablighi Jamaat’s event last month in the national capital.

US-based organisations, the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) and Hindus For Human Rights (HfHR), issued a joint statement Saturday to criticise the “horrifying levels of vitriol poured on Muslims by several media outlets and some public figures” that has resulted in an increase in alleged assaults on the community.

“In parts of the country the social and economic boycott of Muslims is being openly pursued as a response to a healthcare and humanitarian crisis that requires a unified response from the entire populace,” the statement said, appealing for a rejection of “hate politics”.

It added that Islamophobia has “risen exponentially” in the country since reports came that some members of the Tablighi Jamaat had met at an annual conference at Delhi’s Nizamuddin Markaz in mid-March and later tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

While the Narendra Modi government had carried out an intense contact tracing exercise and large-scale tests for the event participants, some sections have fanned communal passions over this. Public figures, including BJP leader from Karnataka Shobha Karandlaje, who referred to the Tablighi event as “Corona Jihad”, also communalised the incident.

The IAMC describes itself as an advocacy group “dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos”. The HfHR advocates for “an inclusive and egalitarian Hinduism”.


Also read: RSS says Tablighi Jamaat conduct not reflection on all Muslims, they’re aiding govt in fight


‘Publicly condemn falsehoods about Muslims’

In their joint statement, IAMC and HfHR pointed out that the Tablighi Jamaat conference took place before the lockdown “when it was business as usual for the entire country”, adding that at the time, India hadn’t begun social distancing.

The statement quoted Union health secretary Lav Agarwal saying on 13 March that the coronavirus outbreak is “not a health emergency” while cautioning against panic.

“It was at least four days after the conference ended that Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a daylong curfew for March 22. Air travel and trains halted only that day. Mr. Modi’s announcement of a 21-day lockdown came even later, on March 24,” it said.

It quoted IAMC president Ahsan Khan to call the Covid-19 crisis exploitation “shameful”. “The absurdity of the idea that Muslims of a specific group are working to spread the deadly disease is matched only by the brazenness with which it is being vocalized by some politicians and influential media anchors,” Khan said in the statement.

HfHR co-founder Sunita Viswanath urged the Modi government to “publicly condemn this falsehood about Muslims”.


Also read: Call it a mistake, not conspiracy against India, say Muslim scholars on Tablighi Jamaat event


Other places of worship

The IAMC and HfHR statement said people who believe the “canard of devious Muslims” working to spread the disease must ask themselves why Home Minister Amit Shah was the chief guest at an AIIMS convocation in Rishikesh on 14 March, the first day of the two-day Tablighi event.

“They must also ask why places of worship across India were open for days after the two-day Tablighi event ended on March 15. The Saibaba temple at Shirdi city in Maharashtra and the Venkateswara Temple at Tirupati city in Andhra Pradesh, each averaging over 50,000 pilgrims a day, closed only on March 17 and 19, respectively,” it said.

On 17 March, the Uttar Pradesh government insisted it would go ahead with the 10-day Ramnavami celebrations from 25 March through 4 April in Ayodhya, where a million Hindu pilgrims were expected, said the statement, adding that it was cancelled only on 21 March.

It also highlighted the violation of social distancing norms violations on 22 March amid Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s curfew call.

‘Slandering the Tablighi Jamaat’

The IAMC and HfHR also criticised the role of Indian media in spreading the hatred, noting that the police had to “debunk their propaganda”.

“Both IAMC and HfHR are united in their condemnation of the constant barrage of anger and hate being spouted by anchors on news channels such as Zee News, ANI and Times Now, as well as media outlets of some vernacular languages. It is a measure of the bias and irrationality that is being disseminated on these channels, that the police had to publicly debunk their propaganda on Twitter and warn them against spreading fake news,” it said.

The two US organisations called upon the Modi government to crack down on fake content making “outrageous and patently false claims about Tablighi Jamaat members misbehaving with medical staff” while in quarantine.

“Such fake content has been circulating on social media and shared by millions, not only slandering the Tablighi Jamaat and the entire Muslim community by extension, but creating a dangerous and volatile situation for millions of people,” it said.

Viswanath said the greatest ethical and civic responsibility at this time is to ensure “social distancing”, and that the poor, sick and needy are taken care of. “We must call out violations of social distancing protocols regardless of who the violators are,” she added.


Also read: How Tablighi Jamaat emerged as the ‘largest known’ Covid-19 source in South Asia


 

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18 Comments Share Your Views

18 COMMENTS

  1. It is Rajdeep who admitted that he tried to frame Modi in the 2002 riots, it is Punya Prasun who is caught openly with Kejriwal regarding faking the news to favor AAP. It is Ravish Kumar and the entire NDTV team famous for twisting news to lies. You see writing on the wall, congress is decimated as it relied on bunch of such fake news peddlers,

  2. Agree, but one-sided. You should also condemn the congregation of any group Hindus or Muslims. When there is congregation of Muslims nobody can condemn it should not be the mentality.

  3. Hey NRIs, please come to India and experience yourself. Tablighi Jamaat was blown the crisis out of proportion. 40-50% cases in every district are due to or related Jamaat. Jamaati are hiding. Muslims are so fucking adamant to gather in mosques that they are ready to defy every lockdown order. Who gave them the right to play with lives of every Indian? And who are you to comment? You are not living here. You don’t know what we were dealing. I challenge IAMC to defy trumps lockdown order in New York if they have the guts and then they’ll know where is islamophobia. If I remember correctly, few time back there was video where muslims kids were talking about killing them selves for their religion and what not and it happened in Pennsylvania. Then you blame that they are islamophobic. Defy trumps order once. I dare you, I double fucking dare you. No person in any country has to right to play with the lives of other citizens. If I’m not wrong, your holy book Quran states that a true muslims, in times of crisis has to do everything for their country’s betterment. A large part of Indian muslims are doing the exact opposite. And If they play with our lives, then we will boycott you. Period.

  4. You have conveniently picked some facts that are in line with your opinion. In Delhi, gatherings of more than 50 were banned before Tablighi meet, however the gathering wasn’t canceled. Furthermore, the leader of the group ask his followers to defy the order, stating that it is a ploy to keep Muslims away from each other. Defiance for rules and law in the name of religion is the major problem. Other states hadn’t implemented any restrictions until that time, so any gathering (convocation or religious) was ok. Additionally, in some cities, people from the same religious background attacked medical staff when they went to test the attendees (accroding to the medical staff, a call was from a mosque’s speaker) and when quarantined, misbehaved with the medical staff. A man (named Nishad) was killed for speaking against tablighi jamaat.
    If you look into the ideology of the jamaat, it is hardcore fundamentalist ideology. Somehow that’s ok in 21st century.
    India media space is very crowded, so I agree that they sensationalize everything to grab attention.
    But please don’t pick and choose facts to cater to people’s opinion. It is your responsibility to give them facts without bias, not just what suits your audience.

  5. Ridiculous and pathetic attempts to defend the indefensible. Even their attempts to draw ludicrous comparisons fall flat on the face of facts-

    Amit Shah opening an AIIMS in Rishikesh is being compared to 20,000 strong congregation from Corona affected countries in a city where congregation was banned !?
    Or the fact that both Shirdi and Tirupati temples were in cities where no coronavirus patients were reported and without lockdown!
    Finally 30% of India’s cases have been attributed to this single event – unlike Shirdi or Tirupati or Amot Shah’s inaguration of AIIMS !

    Ridiculous and foolish arguments by brain dead jokers to defend the indefensible is further evidence that these cretins are more concerned about the media image of Muslims than the public health or safety of Indians!

  6. So much for the love of truth of these organisations. They consider verified instances of violence against medical staff , spitting, going naked in the presence of female nurses fake. What can the credibility of these organisations be?
    Luv Agarwal said it was not a medical emergency on 13th. Poor guy he didnt factor in the corona jihadis of the talibani jamaath, who promptly acted to prove him wrong.
    Strangly these secular organisations come out in open support of terrorists like ISIS, Taliban and other pak based and international outfits.

  7. HfHR is a bunch of JNU tukde-wallahs and award-wapsi types. This seems to be a fly by night operation of Brown sepoys and some “useful idiots” to serve the “breaking India” forces. Enough said.

  8. They should tell jamaatis not to misbehave with doctors and nurses. Anyways India must ban this Arabic organization. This is India not Arabia.

  9. Both the IAMC and the HfHR have been involved in spreading falsehoods and outright lies about India in the US over the last few years. Depicting the majority Hindu community as inherently intolerant and violent towards minorities has been their business for long.
    These organizations were at the forefront of the anti-CAA and anti-NRC protests organized across several US cities. They had the required funds and manpower to mobilize such “protests” on a large scale.
    However, the crisis induced by the coronavirus pandemic has served to unmask them. Lakhs of Indian students in the US are finding it hard to survive now. They dont have their part time jobs and therefore are not able to pay for rent and even their groceries. These are the very same students who had been aggressively courted by these two organizations to come out on the streets and protest against CAA/NRC. Ironically, today, when these students are in dire straits these organizations are nowhere to be seen. So much for their claims of being utterly concerned about Indians and the future of India.
    Instead, its Sewa International, an RSS affiliated organization, which is reaching out to every single student and trying to help them.

  10. I like the Print news which is actual and factual. Keep doing good job for India and world community. The real news you bring is appreciated among readers. Some media houses are spreading hatred and polorisation are not held accountable for their crimes.

  11. The print is only spreading their propaganda according to you all medical staff and police and mainstream media is telling a lie and in the whole India you are only “Satyabadi Harishchandra” . Telling that Muslims are spreading virus is a wrong but Tablighi are the people’s that spreading it intentionally don’t you listen the tap of that stupid maulana many indian organization alleged Tablighi but you are telling about some US organization that don’t know the current Indian situation. Shame on you “The Print”.

  12. Irrespective of what these groups say all the evidence points to the TJ gatherings as one of the largest sources of the infection, not only in India but in Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia. In addition the irresponsible behaviour of the attendees in not following protocol to control the spread of infection made things worse. No other religious gathering led to any kind of spread in infection so comparisons are superfluous. Additionally stoning of healthcare workers in Indore, Bengaluru by members of a particular community, the video by an Infosys employee calling to spread the virus didn’t help. Call it Islamophobia or anything else, but better safe than sorry.

  13. Since everyone watches TV, the TV anchors do have serious opinion-distorting powers. Owners of channels who allow free flow of venom should be booked under SEDITION charges, and afterwards such charges should also be pressed against individual anchors. Few names in the former category can be, Subhash Chandra, Rajat Sharma, Arnab Goswami. In the other category, Deepak Chaurasia, Anjana Om Kashyap. Those who are more familiar with the TV scene can add many more names.
    You cannot incite murder and get away with it. Satwant Singh, the assassin of Indira Gandhi was given death sentence. His 75-year old uncle, Kehar Singh who incited Satwant to empty the carbine into the PM was also given death sentence. The above mentioned should be warned that if Muslim-hating campaign actually gets murderous, they run a real danger of assassination bids on their own lives. An old Raj Kumar dialogue is (from the movie, WAQT) :
    YEH BACCHON KE KHELNE KI CHEEZE NAHIN HAI JAANI,
    LAG JAYE, TOH KHOON NIKAL AATA HAI

    • Like the so called peaceful anti-CAA, and anti-NRC demonstrations were peaceful? As evidence emerges of the active involvement of jihadi elements in the Delhi riots, where about half of the dead were Hindus and their businesses selectively burnt, it will take more than rhetoric to put the genie back into the bottle. The present scenario is similar to the pre partition period when Muslims helped by the communists and its front organisations were demanding a separate nation. But now is not 1947, and these elements should understand it. The majority is vigilant and awake to these designs.

    • Bhatiaji very wrll said. I totally agree with you and i congratulate you for you positive and contructive opinion on the issue unlike many other in the comment box who speak the language of hate and revenge without relising the conseqences of such hate campaign.

  14. Targeting a community for the mistake of few is wrong. It’s also true that some of he prime time anchors have been over enthusiastic in covering tablighi incident. But the bizzare behaviour of Tablighis is also an undeniable fact. While it’s right to debunk fake news, alternate facts and fact checks are being used to cover up real incidents. Videos showing stone pelting at medical personnel or attacks against the police who went to the ghettos to convince them to get tested turned out be real. So it’s not correct to point fingers at news channels alone. Unruly behaviour of Tablighis and baffling justification of their behaviour by some left wing journalists also brought this on to the entire community.

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