Devotees from Bangladesh face coronavirus test, manhunt in India

Diplomatic Correspondent | Published: 01:51, Apr 02,2020 | Updated: 21:16, Apr 02,2020


Scores of Bangladeshi devotees, who are in Tabligh gatherings in different Indian states, are under manhunt by the Indian authorities to get them medically screened for COVID-19.

‘Nearly 100 Bangladeshi devotees are travelling in different Indian states for Tabligh,’ a Bangladeshi organiser of Tabligh Jamaat faction led by Saad Zeeshan, head of Nizamuddin centre in New Delhi of India, told New Age on Wednesday.

The Indian authorities removed over 30 of them from the Nizamuddin centre of Tablighi Jamaat on early Wednesday to test the infection of COVID-19 as well as to keep them in mandatory 14-day quarantine.

No Bangladeshi participant was detected with COVID-19 infection till Wednesday morning, a Bangladesh diplomat said.

Saad agreed to get all the centre occupants to be tested for identifying COVID-19 infection and vacate the place for disinfection campaign after a meeting with India’s national security advisor Ajit Doval on early Wednesday in an intervention from Indian home minister Amit Shah, according to the Hindustan Times.

Security officials said that the government had taken an initiative to trace all the foreigners who are in India, to get them medically screened and then to take a close look at the violation of the visa norms, the Hindustan Times added.

There were 216 foreign nationals at the Nizamuddin centre, but there are over 800 more trapped in different states of India because of shut down of public transport to contain the spread of the disease.

Over 300 foreigners, including citizens from Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia, were attending the gatherings, according to the Press Trust of India.

Most of the foreign participants violated their visa conditions by entering India on visa for tourists, not missionaries and they may face blacklisting by the Indian authorities on travel to the country.

A large religious gathering in New Delhi in the first week of March sparked a manhunt across India for suspected COVID-19 cases after being linked to dozens of infections and several deaths.

The police filed first information report against Saad and several other Indian nationals for violation of instructions on mass gatherings in COVID-19 situation.

The Tablighi Jamaat was founded by Ilyas Kandhlawi, great grandfather of Saad, for preaching Islam.

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