India exploits Tabligh Jamaat gathering To unleash vicious anti-Muslim campaign

Tabligh Jamaat gathering at Nizamuddin in New Delhi, between 8 and 15 last month, has given the much needed ammunition for the violently anti-Muslim Hindutva government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to turn the country’s attention from countrywide uprising against his government to accuse Muslims of spreading corona virus.

Latheef Farook

The Indian media has unleashed a fierce campaign accusing the Tabligh of spreading corona virus all over the country.

However there were no words about other gatherings attended by hundreds of thousands of people. For example a reception organized to receive US president Donald Trump, an award ceremony attended by the Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and a Hindu religious ceremony at the Ayodhya Mosque presided over by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who once asked his lawless thugs to dig out dead and buried Muslim women from graves and rape.

During the past few months Modi’s government has been under siege due to country wide uprising against his government’s anti-people and anti-Muslim policies.

Thus India was passing through one of its worst periods in history.

On the same day when Tabligh Jamaat was holding its congregation, the government had claimed that coronavirus was not a medical emergency. Even the parliament continued its sittings till March 24.

It was under such circumstance came the Tablighi gathering.Maulana Saad Kandhalvi, 56, the head of Tabitha Jamaat that organised the gathering now linked to at least 11 COVID-19 deaths is “untraceable” since March 28 after Delhi Police served notice.

A manhunt is underway to find Maulana Saad , grandson of the founder prominent Deobandi cleric and scholar Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Kandhalawi who launched Tablighi Jamaat in 1927 in Mewat, India, not far from Delhi.

Earlier the government sealed the six-storey headquarters of the group, located in the heart of the Indian capital New Delhi. Officials said that they have launched a manhunt all over the country to locate the people, who had attended a congregation.

Tabligh Jamaat, is a group deviated from mainstream Islam.They claim that they do not get involved in politics. They do not want to know what is going around them. No one knows their goal, achievements and contributions towards Islam and Muslims other than dragging people to a secluded society.

Tablighi Jamaat is just the opposite of RSS which believes in violence to wipe out Muslims and Islam from India. However Tabligh Jamaat remains a very peaceful group who gather in hundreds of thousands, listen to sermons and disperse without causing any hindrance to anyone including law enforcement authority.

They pose no threat to any one including law enforcement authorities and thus they are accommodated in almost every country without any restrictions.

Many question the contribution made by Tabitha movement to Islam and Muslims. However one thing is certain that Tabligh movement, with millions of followers worldwide, has helped to distort Islam and weaken Muslim communities worldwide.

However Indian Muslim organizations and leaders took strong exception to attempts made by Modi’s hostile government to squarely blame the Tablighi Jamaat and its members for accentuating the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic crises in the country. They said that demonizing the Tablighi Jamaat is a clear ploy to divert attention from the government’s systemic failures and the migrant workers’ crisis.

The jamaat, however, said that they had followed every government direction and discontinued its programs soon after government announced public curfew on March 22. It said that people had got stuck in the mosque because of sudden lockdown announced by the government.

It added that since the one-day civil curfew was followed by a 21-day lockdown only the next day, there was no mode of transport available for the people to return to their homes. They had no option, but to stay back at the headquarters, known as Markaz or Banglawali Mosque. They even offered the building to be used as a quarantine facility.

Fresh from anti-Muslim riots in Delhi, the blame game has led to fresh bouts of communal hatred on social media.

“While it is irresponsible on the part of the Jamaat to allow such a large gathering, knowing that COVID-19 had already entered the country, I also see this as a failure on the part of the authorities,” Zafarul Islam Khan, the chairman of the Delhi Minority Commission.

He said it smacks vindictive to blame the Muslim group when Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath supervised a function at the city of Ayodhya.

“Targeting the Tabligh Jamaat and ignoring the bigger and more irresponsible gatherings amounts to playing dirty politics and communal polarization,” said Jamaat-e-Islami Hind President Syed Sadatullah Hussaini. He said the country must unitedly fight the pandemic.