New Delhi: There were as many as 261 foreign nationals among 1,746 people lodged at the Tablighi Jamaat's Nizamuddin Markaz facility as on March 21, a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced 'Janata curfew' across India to contain COVID-19 spread.
Additionally, the Ministry said about 824 foreigners had been, as on March 21, doing Tabligh (Chilla) activities in various parts of the country.
The Home Ministry made the announcement after the headquarters of a religious sect in the Nizamuddin area emerged as one of the biggest coronavirus hotspot in India with 24 people testing positive and nearly 200 others showing symptoms.
The authorities have begun evacuating the six-storey building of some over 1,000 others believed to have been exposed to the virus.
The building belongs to the Tablighi Jamaat, a Muslim sect that hosted this month its annual congregession with attendees coming in from several nations, particularly from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Kyrgyzstan before they spread out to other parts of the country such as Kashmir and Andhra Pradesh creating a web of close contacts that now threatens to create an explosion of cases in the country.
"As on March 21, there were about 1,746 persons staying in Hazrat Nizamuddin Markaz. Of these, 216 were foreigners and 1,530 were Indians," the Ministry said.
It said that Tabligh Jamaat workers, both foreigners as well Indians, indulge in Chilla activities across the country throughout the year.
All such foreign nationals normally report their arrival at Tablighi Markaz at Banglewali Mosque in Hazrat Nizamuddin in New Delhi. From here, they are detailed for Chilla activities to different parts of the country.
Chilla activities in all states are coordinated by district coordinators in different districts, who, in turn, in some states are supervised by state 'amirs'.
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