In an audio message by Maulana Muhammad Saad Khandalvi, the leader of Tablighi Jamat, blamed mankind's sin, for the novel coronavirus pandemic. A religious congregation of the group, from March 1-15 in Delhi, that was attended by over 2,000 delegates, from countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, led to a huge surge in the number of Covid-19 cases in India.
The group, headquartered in India, has millions of followers and is highly popular in South and South-East Asia.
What did Maulana Saad Khandalvi say in his audio message?
"There is no doubt that the sins of human beings are responsible for this problem [novel coronavirus]. Allah is angry," Maulana Saad said, India Today reported. He also urged his followers to follow doctors' guidelines over novel coronavirus. "People should follow the guidelines and advise of doctors. I myself am in isolation and people should follow the instructions," he said.
This is against his earlier call, where he asked his followers to ignore the lockdown and go ahead with the religious congregation. "If you think you will die if you assemble in a mosque, let me tell you, there is no better place to die," he could be heard saying in an earlier audio clip.
"This is not the time when you leave your prayers, meeting people just because doctors are saying. When Allah has given this disease, then no doctor or medicine can save us," the religious leader added.
In an old video clip, Saad could be seen telling the crowd, "This is the time when mosques should be populated. I feel pity for those who are saying that this is a time when people who should not go or stay inside mosques. This is the time when we should be not be scattered and leave mosques. If we gather inside mosques then Allah will create peace and comfort in the world". A First Information Report (FIR) has been registered against Maulana Saad and six others, for flouting government's orders regarding lockdown.
Coronavirus cases in India linked to Tablighi Jamat
In the past two days, 95 percent of India's newly reported cases have been linked to Jamat's religious congregation in Delhi, from March 1-15, Economic Times reported. According to the country's health ministry, 647 Covid-19 cases, reported on Thursday (April 2) and Friday (April 3), are linked to the Jamat. Eight attendees of the congregation have died of Covid-19.
As on Saturday, April 4, India has reported 3,082 coronavirus cases, along with 86 fatalities, according to Worldmeter's tally.