Covid19: Recovered Tablighi Jamaat members will donate blood so plasma therapy can help others

Delhi Minorities Commission also writes to LG and CM about the deplorable condition of Covid-19 isolation camps in city where two diabetic Jamaat members died, allegedly due to negligence

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Once hounded for attending the annual meeting of their orthodox Muslim sect, Tablighi Jamaat members may soon be the new “Corona Warriors” and help find effective therapy to cure Covid-19. Social media users began posting information that Tablighi Jamaat members who had recovered from Covid-19 will donate blood, from which plasma will be extracted for use in treating others still suferring from the disease.

The plasma  and antibodies from patients who have recovered from Covid-19 are being used as treatment for a controlled trial at Delhi’s Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) hospital. The Delhi Government has been granted permission to conduct this trial at only one hospital so far, according to the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who said, “We have conducted the trial on four patients in LNJP and the response so far has been positive.” He had also requested those who had recovered to come forward and donate plasma, so other Covid-19 patients could be helped.

And some Tablighi Jamaat members have already volunteered to do so, joining some others who have also stepped up. According to a Twitter post by Seemi Pasha, an independent journalist the Delhi Government had requested Tablighi Jamaat members who have recovered from Covid-19 to donate blood to enable plasma therapy to cure the disease. The Tablighi Jamaat members who had been quarantined at a facility in Narela are said to “have readily agreed,” she posted, “they’re literally giving their blood to cure others but no TV news channel will talk about this.”

Her remarks are significant, considering all Tablighi Jamaat members, and other Muslims were vilified when the news of the Markaz headquarters at Nizamuddin becoming a Coronavirus hotspot had broken. For weeks after that, the entire Muslim community had to face dangerous levels of harassment across the country. They were tagged as ‘single source’ spreaders of Coronavirus and the pandemic was communalised across the country. Till recently even Delhi Government had been counting cases of Jamaat members testing positive for Covid-19 as a distinctive category, and announcing them in the daily press briefings. They were merely following the trend set by the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Union Health Ministry who also named, and classified Covid-19 cases of Jamaat members as distinct categories. All of this led to violence against Muslim vendors in some cities, and still continues to make them the target of hate, and socio-economic boycott.  

As James Wils, a twitter user who is keeping a close eye on the data around Coronavirus asked, if the government will now list this also as a separate category?

The irony perhaps will be missed by those bigots who continue to fan hate against India’s Muslim community at large.

The ordinary Tablighi Jamaat members, many of whom had come from other states but were stranded in Delhi after the sudden lockdown and suspected of being infected with the Coronavirus were moved to Corona isolation camps in the city. The conditions there have been reported to be so bad that two diabetic inmates have died within ten days. Mohamed Mustafa (60) died on April 22 while Haji Rizwan, died about ten days earlier. Both of them had come from Tamil Nadu and were diabetic. They died due to “denial of diabetic medicines and erratic food supply” said DMC and news reports.

Taking note of this, Delhi Minorities Commission Chairman Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan and Member Kartar Singh Kochharhad have written  to Lt. Governor Delhi  Anil Baijal, and Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, and apprised them of the appalling conditions prevailing in the  Covid19 quarantine camps in Delhi. 

These conditions and the “callous and uncooperative nature of officers and doctors manning and supervising these camps and erratic supply of food at these facilities” are to be blamed for the  deaths of two inmates, stated the DMC letter. Those under  Covid-19 quarantine are housed at facilities in Sultanpuri, Narela and Dwarka. Tablighi Jamaat members housed there come from across the country, and some also hail from Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Kyrgyzstan.  

Among them are elderly people with health issues who require special care and medical attention. They have completed 25 days in quarantine, much past the required 14 days and most have tested negative for Covid-19. 

What is of greater concern is the fact that those 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,” stated the DMC letter.

The Commission has said that the inmates are not treated well, given low quality food which is served late. “Breakfast served at 11 am and dinner at 10-11 pm. The food is hardly edible. As a result, people are having stomach problems and some are vomiting,” said DMC. According to the DMC letter medical facilities are poor at the quarantine centres.

The Commission stated, “It is very unfortunate that this was allowed to happen due to the carelessness of the medical and administrative staff while these persons were in government care and therefore the government was responsible for their safekeeping and welfare during their detention.”

The commission has asked that those who have tested negative “must be allowed to move out of these camps which in effect are jails. Those who are able to go out of Delhi or stay elsewhere in the city must be facilitated to do so including stay in apartments or hotels at their own expenses until the end of the lockdown period.” 

It is important to note that most of the Muslim inmates in the quarantine camps will observe roza (fast) as Ramzan has already begun. The DMC has asked that they be provided food at the time they require according to the guidelines of keeping the rozas, and breaking the fast with the evening call to prayer, or azaan. 

Apart from food the Commission has also asked that mosquito repellents be supplied to all inmates at the quarantine centres. “In case of any difficulty the Commission members in their personal capacity are ready to provide these to the quarantine camps in coordination with the camp administrators,” the DMC stated.

The Commission has also asked that an enquiry to probe the deaths of the two men at Sultanpuri camp be set up and those found guilty of negligence, denial of medicines and food, be suitably punished.


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