We have come to a delicate and sensitive juncture of pandemic where we struggle to prevent ourselves entering into stage three, while a section of experts feel we are already into that. Fact, however, remains that the ratio of the numbers growing vis a vis numbers tested is a matter of anxious concerns – an alarming around four percent victims of the total tested. Maharashtra and especially Mumbai is seen to be worst effected. As we are getting good numbers of rapid testing equipment, more people will be tested with apprehensions of soaring the numbers of people infected. We would be needing lot of courage, patience and preparations to deal with the upcoming numbers.
Ghost of Tablighi Jamaat, unfortunately, continues to haunt as ever growing numbers indicate to the congregation time and again and as of now around thirty percent of infections are attributable to them. Still the most unfortunate part is that the organization is doing absolutely nothing to help administration trace, locate and identify the participants and segregate them from others. The participants continue to either roam around or hide themselves creating panic among the people at large. The head preacher remains underground without having any care for the FIR lodged. That raises serious concerns over the intentions and very purpose of the congregation. There are avoidable fallouts of this which is having different dimensions at different places depending on the locality in absence of any focused and well planed directions to lead towards. There also appears to be a nefarious design to let the entire community be blamed for a very small section of nuisance makers or errant organizers. Now there are reported instances of members of the community being harassed at places presumably for fear of them being the attendees of the congregation. Thus, there are fears of innocents being harassed for nothing creating avoidable communal strife. These harassments may have all the potentials of communal hatred being flared up by vested interests and it may take unfortunate turns in these troubled times. Tablighi must be squarely blamed for all this ills against the community at large. It is high time that community leaders come forward not only for containing Covid related issues but also for containing possible communal distrust too. Since there are no signs of this happening, the govt and administration is required to nip these efforts in bud with full ruthlessness and determination.
Aftereffect and aftermath of a religious congregation could be so unholy and unreligious appears quite an irony and utterly regrettable. Preaching should leave the society awakened and enlightened, instead it is leading to darkness and rigidity. Lots of the things have been said, still lots are being said and lots will continue to be said though most of the debate is unnecessary and uncalled for – so much so that the initial stages of the congregation too is being still debated. These are now utterly futile. We are just not able to accept the crude facts and allow to let the facts wear more and more coverings of communal dressings making the issue more and more complicated. This is being done by some quarters deliberately for obvious reasons and by others unconsciously but supporting the issues flaring up.
On top of the things now media is being accused of giving communal colors to the issue. Some threatening language are also being heard against ‘visual media’. This is unfortunate and condemnable. The saner elements who came out to support the truth and condemn the organizers are being termed as having been hired by the media who do not have any concerns for the community. Showing true pictures may be sometimes not that pleasant but those pictures need to be analyzed in correct perspectives before accusing them of bias and prejudice. Breaking the mirrors for showing the ugly faces may only be termed as symptoms of perverted minds.
Two facts are too clear and not debatable – One, well before the congregation took place at Nizamuddin, the Jamaat had already visualized it’s effects in spreading infections in many countries and even then the organizers went ahead with it ignoring all red signals whether or not the govt guidelines were in force at the material time. Two, there is no question of their being apologetic owning the responsibility as they still feel there was nothing wrong in organizing the preaching ceremony. They have too many ready arguments and comparisons to offer. After all, there were some temples too having crowds and a Bollywood star too had crowds, so did some politicians at different places around the time. So they too had every right of doing whatever they liked! Why they will buy the point that the media and society and everyone took on them too and didn’t forgive them. The administration too took the congnigence of these and went ahead with the actions. Why would they realize that no one amongst them either went underground evading the FIR lodged nor anyone among them went missing.
But then all of us are involving ourselves on the peripheral aspects of the issue. Now that everything is so clear administration must proceed with the appropriate actions against the violators even beyond Covid if the investigations so indicate notwithstanding their positions, affiliations and credentials. Lot of time has elapsed now going on discussing and now the establishment should not go on having hopes of co-operation and co-ordination from their side. Therefore, the only option the administration has is to invoke stringent provisions of acts of not only disaster management but of national security. There can not be any other greater security threat than go on spreading the killer virus in society at large with no visible remorse or correction on their part. And this must not have anything to do with any communal colors and feelings. Any group creating obstructions to administration engaging in protecting lives of the people in stead of facilitating them render their services in a smooth manner must be subjected to appropriate stringent actions without any loss of time to set a prudent example of law enforcement.
And most importantly, let us now stop going on talking about Tablighi. The more this remains a subject of media the more vested interests people find opportunity to flare up negativity and hatred, which we may least afford to at these difficult times. At the same time the liberal portion of the community, who are presumably in huge majority, must come forward with the govt for if they do not, they would be losing their historical responsibility towards the country at large. The country will not be able to forget the scars inflicted upon it and an entire generation will be witness to this!
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.