New Delhi: The leadership of the Tablighi Jamaat should have shown “sensible responsibility like the RSS… and cancelled its programme”, Sangh sah sarkaryavah (joint general secretary) Manmohan Vaidya said Monday.
Addressing a press conference via video link, Vaidya said the Sangh had cancelled several programmes in deference to the government’s call for social distancing. But even as he criticised the Tablighi Jamaat’s conduct, he hailed the role played by the Muslim community at large. The community, he said, had been tipping off the administration about the hideouts of Tablighi members who were present at its Nizamuddin headquarters last month when it reportedly became a centre of Covid-19 infection.
“The coronavirus cases are definitely increasing because of the event Tablighi Jamaat organised in the capital. Everyone agrees with that,” Vaidya said. “The figures tell the truth. If their leadership would have taken a decision on time and cancelled it on time it would have been good,” he added.
According to the health ministry, 30 per cent of India’s confirmed cases are linked to a March gathering of Tablighi Jamaat members at its international headquarters in Nizamuddin, Delhi. Over 1,000 cases spread across 17 states have been found linked to the gathering, and nearly 22,000 Tablighi Jamaat members and their contacts quarantined across the country so far, the Union Health Ministry said Saturday.
Seeking to compare the conduct of the Tablighi Jamaat with that of the RSS, Vaidya said the Sangh had cancelled the annual March meeting of the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha (ABPS), its highest decision-making body, in light of the Covid-19 crisis.
“Our meeting was scheduled for 15, 16 and 17 March. More than 1,500 workers across the country were going to participate. But the RSS leadership, even before the lockdown was announced, took a serious decision and cancelled it,” he said.
“The sensible responsibility of leadership that RSS leaders showed… if these Tablighis had shown, this would have been avoided,” Vaidya added.
Even if the Tablighis were unable to take a decision at the time, they should have acted responsibly and behaved with medical staff, Vaidya said, weighing in on reports that some members of the organisation had misbehaved with doctors and health workers in hospitals and quarantine facilities.
“Baad mai chhupe rehna, chhupana, jo jaanch kaarane ke liye aa rahein hai unki sewa ke liye unse behooda vyvahar karna, ye toh kuch vikruti ka hee darshan hai (to hide afterwards, to misbehave with those examining them, reflects some form of perverseness),” he said.
“The way they are spitting is against the parampara (tradition) of India. Agar galti se kisi ko paer lagta hai toh hum namaskar karte hai (even if our feet accidentally touches someone, we apologise),” he added, stating, however, that the Tablighi members’ conduct was not a reflection on the entire community.
“Even in the Muslim community, many people have acted responsibly. But unfortunately, one section of the community is not responsible. They are being insensitive and perverse,” he added.
Asked about the perpetration of rumours that the event was part of a larger conspiracy to “infect India”, Vaidya said: “Whether it is a conspiracy or not, I don’t know. But they are definitely getting exposed. The Muslim community, too, has been opposing them. At many places, where all these people are hiding in mosques, it is the the Muslim community that is giving their details to the administration.
“So, within their community also, they are also getting exposed. So I think something good will emerge out of this.”
Among other things, Vaidya said all RSS programmes scheduled until June, including educational ones under the Sangh Shiksha Varg, stood cancelled for now in honour of social-distancing precautions.
He also praised the work done by the Modi government and said society needed to do its bit too. “Not everything can be done by the government. We need to do our bit too,” he said.
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