STATE TIMES NEWS New Delhi: Lt Governor Girish Chandra Murmu on Friday said the UT administration has been keeping intensive surveillance and has identified hotspots to preempt COVID-19 outbreak but “faced problems due to movement of Tablighi Jamaat” members, a statement issued by Rashtrapati Bhavan said. Murmu was participating in a video-conference of governors, Lt governors and administrators with President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on COVID-19 response.
Blacklisting proceedings begin against 360 foreigners linked to Tablighi Jamaat: MHA New Delhi: Blacklisting proceedings have started against 360 foreigners who had participated in Tablighi Jamaat activities in India and left the country before borders were sealed in view of the coronavirus outbreak, the Union Home Ministry said on Friday. Addressing a press conference here, Punya Salila Srivastava, a joint secretary in the Home Ministry, also ruled out the deportation of 960 foreigners, still in India, who came on a tourist visa and participated in Tablighi activities at this stage, saying action has already been initiated for alleged violations of visa conditions under the Foreigners Act and the Disaster Management Act. “At this stage, there is no question of deportation because the action has already begun. As and when deportation will take place, it will be as per standard health protocol,” a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said, responding to a question on the deportation of 960 blacklisted foreign nationals linked to the Tablighi Jamaat. These 960 foreigners who are on a tourist visa have been blacklisted for alleged violations of visa conditions for participating in Tablighi Jamaat activities, she said. “Blacklisting process of 360 foreigners who took part in the activities of Tablighi Jamaat but have returned to their countries has begun,” she said. Home Ministry has asked all Directors Generals of Police and Commissioners of Police to initiate “strict action” in such cases, she said. Tablighi Jamaat’s Markaz in Nizamuddin West has emerged as an epicentre for the spread of the coronavirus in different parts of the country after thousands of people took part in a congregation from March 1-15. Many of the participants have tested positive for COVID-19 in several states and also died. According to latest data, 647 COVID-19 cases have been reported among people who have participated in Tablighi Jamaat activities from 14 states. India has reported 56 deaths from COVID-19 with 12 deaths reported in last 24 hours, a health ministry official said. The ministry has also asked the states and Union Territories to take strict action in reported cases of attacks against health care professionals and frontline workers, Srivastava said. The ministry has asked states to ensure the security of medical fraternity, she said. Several cases have been reported in the country where healthcare workers and frontline workers were allegedly attacked by locales and Tablighi Jamaat members. The Madhya Pradesh government has invoked the National Security Act against four persons allegedly involved in the attack on the medical team which had gone to quarantine relatives and neighbours of COVID-19 patients in Indore. Similar action has been initiated by the Uttar Pradesh government against six Tablighi Jamaat members who misbehaved with nurses in a makeshift isolation ward where they have been kept. Allegations of misbehaviour by Tablighi Jamaat members had also surfaced in the national capital when they were taken to quarantine centres. The Home Ministry has set up two new helplines for coronavirus pandemic — 1930 (national toll-free) and 1944 (specifically for North East India), she said. “Also, list of states’ helplines is posted on MHA website,” she said. Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has written to Chief Secretaries to ensure smooth disbursement of benefits of Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojna which is starting from Friday, she said. “The Home Secretary asked the Chief Secretary to pass necessary instructions which should reach field level. Call people at staggered times, maintain social distancing and ensure the security of bank branches. Ensure smooth disbursement of benefits and every beneficiary gets due benefits,” she said.
“We faced problems because of movement of Tablighi Jamaat,” he said. Murmu, however, assured that the administration is taking care of migrant workers, students and has also set up adequate quarantine centres. While apprising the President about the measures taken by the UT Administration for prevention, management, and containment of Coronavirus, the Lt Governor informed that around 28,000 guest labourers are being housed in various camps across J&K and are being taken care of by the administration during the period of lockdown. Further, intensive surveillance and testing is being carried out, particularly in Red zones and local religious & spiritual leaders have been taken onboard for awareness, contact tracing, and providing relief. Block Level Coordination Committees have been constituted to comprehensively monitor the supply of essentials, to keep a check on the prices and ensure social distancing is followed in banks and ration outlets. The Lt Governor stated that the seamless flow of all essential commodities/medicines/perishable items in and out of the UT has been ensured. It was also brought to notice that the administration has ensured advance distribution of ration across J&K. In addition, dry ration under the Mid-day meal scheme has also been distributed to the students in advance as the schools remain closed. He observed that the Agriculture sector is one of the top priorities of the UT Administration and steps are being taken to ensure adequate supply of mechanized farm machines, fertilizers, seeds etc to the farming community, besides devising plans for their movement during the lockdown period strictly adhering to the social distancing norms. The President and Vice-President expressed satisfaction on the efforts of the UT Administration. Ladakh Lt Governor Radha Krishna Mathur expressed concern over rise in cases due to the return of pilgrims from Iran, where some of them had been infected. He pointed out that inaccessibility of certain areas and tough terrain make operation rather difficult. Mathur appreciated the work of voluntary, religious and social organisations in providing help to people in need, the statement said. Andaman and Nicobar Lt Governor Admiral D K Joshi (Retd) said 10 positive COVID-19 cases were related to Tablighi Jamaat congregation in New Delhi. At least 9,000 people had participated at a congregation at the Nizamuddin Markaz last month after which many have travelled to various parts of the country for missionary works. So far, around 400 COVID-19 positive cases and about 12 deaths in the country were found to have links with the Nizamuddin Markaz. “All those who participated in Tablighi Jamaat event are quarantined after identifying them,” Joshi said. Chhattisgarh Governor Anusuiya Uikey said the state government had launched a comprehensive strategy to check the spread of the disease at the earliest. Referring to farmers’ plights, she said perishable agricultural produces are allowed to be sold in local markets. Uttarakhand Governor Baby Rani Maurya said the state had suitably augmented its capacity to meet any situation arising out of the crisis. Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel started off by saying that universities and medical colleges are collaborating to devise methods to attend to the patients on war footing. She also pointed out that online classes for students have begun to enable them to continue with their academic session. Patel said the state government was cognisant of farmers’ problems and initiating measures to help them out. Intervening in the discussion, the president urged all governors to revive units of the Red Cross Society and take their help. The vice president urged governors/Lt governors and administrators to spread awareness about the measures initiated by the government in helping farmers in this harvesting season. He particularly asked Andhra Pradesh Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan to see to it that farmers and landless labourers were given succour in these trying times. Naidu commended governors/Lt governors and administrators for their insightful views and keeping their ears to the ground to ensure the welfare of people. He extolled doctors and health workers for serving people in face of grave risk and displaying exemplary courage and conviction. Kovind reiterated that he along with the vice president would always be available for consultation if need arises, the statement added.
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