STATE TIMES NEWSNew Delhi: More than 25,500 Tablighi Jamaat members and their contacts have been quarantined in the country till now after the Union and state governments conducted a “mega operation” to identify them, a senior Union Home Ministry official said on Monday. During the daily briefing, Joint Secretary Punya Salila Srivastava told reporters that five villages in Haryana have been sealed and the residents have been quarantined as “foreign members” of this Islamic organisation had stayed there. She added that 1,750 foreign-based members of the Jamaat, out of the total 2,083, have been blacklisted till now by the Indian government. These people and their contacts were identified and quarantined after the Union government and states conducted a “mega operation”, she said. Action against Tablighi Jamaat members was taken after over 2,300 activists were found to be living at its headquarters in Nizamuddin West in Delhi last week, despite the 21-day nationwide lockdown imposed to check the spread of the coronavirus. At least 9,000 people participated in the religious congregation in Nizamuddin last month, after which many of the attendees travelled to various parts of the country. Srivastava said Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has written to all the states and Union Territories on Monday asking them to ensure that the supply chain of medical oxygen, critical for treatment of COVID-19 affected people, should go on smoothly and these directions should be “implemented strictly” while following norms of social distancing and proper hygiene. “As you know, medical oxygen is a very critical item for COVID-19. It is very essential to keep its proper supply and stock in the entire country. This is also declared an essential item in both national and WHO list and its production, manufacturing and the entire chain is exempted from lockdown measures.” “To reiterate this, the home secretary has again written to state governments and UTs today and has told them about the importance of medical oxygen and has directed that its entire supply chain should be properly monitored.” the officer said. Updating about the ongoing lockdown situation, Srivastava said the state governments are enforcing the lockdown with promptness and essential goods and services are moving satisfactorily in the country and the Centre was regularly monitoring the situation with states. “We are hopeful that with the enforcement of these measures we will be able to effectively enforce the lockdown and break the COVID-19 chain,” she said.
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