Delhi Minorities Commission says extended quarantine of Tablighi Jamaat attendees illegal

DMC chairman Zafarul-IslamKhan wrote to Delhi govt that keeping the inmates quarantined beyond 14 days was illegal; pointed out that food was not being given to them as needed during Ramzan<b></b>

Photo Courtesy: Twitter
Photo Courtesy: Twitter

Ashlin Mathew

The Delhi Minorities Commission chairman has written a letter to Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain stating that the Delhi government’s confinement of Tablighi Jamaat attendees at various Covid-19 quarantine centres was illegal.

The attendees have been quarantined for almost 28 days.

In the letter, Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC) chairman Zafarul-Islam Khan stated that 14 days was the mandatory quarantine period for Covid-19. He stressed that keeping them longer than 14 days was illegal detention.

The DMC chairman added that the grief of the inmates has expounded since Ramzan has begun. “On the first day of Ramzan, the people got only two bananas and 3 dates for Iftar. They got nothing for Sehri (morning meal before fasting begins). This will worsen their condition as there are several elderly people at the camp. On Sunday, they were able to fast because Jamiat Ulema provided them food in the morning,” said Khan.

This letter follows an earlier one co-written by Khan and DMC member Kartar Singh to both the Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Written on April 22, the letter had also mentioned about the extended quarantine period.

“They have completed 25 days in quarantine, much past the required 14 days. Their vast majority has tested negative, but a few who have tested positive are also kept in the same facilities. Out of 21 positive cases of Jamaat people at Sultanpuri camp, only around 4-5 were reportedly taken to hospitals,” says Khan’s letter. He underscored that those who have tested negative must be allowed to move out of these camps which in effect are jails.

The earlier letter too had mentioned that “a majority of Muslim inmates would need their food shortly before sunset (for Iftar, around 6:30 pm) and the second food supply before dawn (for Sehri, before 4 am).

The first letter was written mainly to request a probe into the two deaths at the Sultanpuri quarantine centre due to lack of timely food and medicines

It highlighted that Tablighi Jamaat and other Covid-19 suspects kept at quarantine centres in Sultanpuri, Narela and Dwarka included Indians from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan, while there are also foreign nationals from Malaysia, Thailand, Srilanka and Kirghizistan etc. There were people with health issues who require special care and medical attention.

It pointed towards the inhuman treatment of the inmates as breakfast of just two slices of bread and a banana would be given only at 11 am. Dinner would be served only after 10.30 pm. “As a result, people are suffering from stomach ailments and some are vomiting. Medical facilities and medicines are not provided while some of the inmates are diabetic and heart patients,” said Khan.

According to the letter, it was the change in the medical team which led to these problems. “During the first 14 days they were treated well but then a new medical team took over on April 13, 2020, and this new team is careless and callous, said the inmates. Doctors rarely visit the patients.” NH spoke to several inmates of Sultanpuri camp, who have confirmed that doctors rarely visited the camp and they refused to give sufficient medicines to patients suffering from diabetes and hypertension.

The Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi has constituted a three-member death audit committee to find the cause of their deaths.

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