The Assam Government has taken the most appropriate decision of filing criminal cases against people who are hiding on return from the infamous Tablighi Jamaat congregation at the Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi last month. Look at them; in the first place not even one out of the 560-plus people from Assam who had attended the Jamaat had voluntarily declared that they had gone there despite the government’s repeated appeals to come out. As state Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has said, all those 400-plus Nizamuddin participants could be tracked down so far by the authorities mostly because of other people calling up 104 or passing on information to the government. Thirdly, even after repeated requests, there has been very little positive response from the masjid committees of various districts of the state. Even office-bearers of the Lakhtokia Masjid Committee in the heart of Guwahati has begun responding only after the Health Minister met them on Saturday, as if it is a personal interest of the minister and as if the Masjid Committee has no duty and responsibility. If one of the largest and oldest masjids in the state located in Guwahati and run by educated and empowered people behaves like this and responds only when the minister meets them personally, then how does one expect information coming out voluntarily from masjids located in the sar areas inhabited by immigrants? And now, even as the government has issued stern warning against those still hiding, look what has happened in Darrang district: the police have arrested nine persons from Malad in Mumbai who were hiding in a village Kamarpara under Kharupetia police station after attending the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi. What were these people from Mumbai doing in Kharupetia? Who directed them to Kharupetia? How many people of Kharupetia have come in contact with these nine Mumbai persons as well as the owner of the house – one Yakub Ali – and his other family members? Kharupetia being a major vegetable hub of the region, is there any guarantee that persons who came into contact with this gang have not travelled to different districts to distribute vegetables? Doesn’t the arrest of nine persons from Mumbai in Kharupetia indicate that more such Tablighi Jamaatis are hiding in different villages across Assam, particularly in the sar areas? It was only a couple of days ago that ten such persons from UP were tracked down in South Salmara district. Such reports are coming from other states too. In Bihar, nine such Jamaatis from UP were arrested two days ago while they were trying to sneak out to Nepal. The Assam Police have to be more proactive and activate all its networks and sources to track down each and every Nizamuddin returnee as quickly as possible. It is a criminal act during such a global emergency situation.
Criminal cases against hiding Tablighi Jamaatis