DMC writes to LG and CM about prohibition of Azaan in Delhi mosques

New Delhi: Delhi Minorities Commission wrote on Thursday to the Anil Baijil, Lt. Governor Delhi and Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi, about the prohibition of azaan in NCT mosques and plight of inmates in Corona isolation camps where medical and food facilities are so bad that two diabetic inmates have died within ten days, the last being on 22 April. Their deaths were due to erratic supply of food and denial of medicines and medical care.

DMC Chairman Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan and Member Kartar Singh Kochhar said in their joint letter to both the LG and CM that the conditions prevailing in the  Covid19 quarantine camps in Delhi have already led to deaths of two inmates due to the callous and uncooperative nature of officers and doctors manning and supervising these camps and erratic supply of food at these facilities.

They said that Tablighi Jamaat and other Covid19 suspects are kept at quarantine centres in Sultanpuri, Narela and Dwarka etc. Tablighi Jamaat inmates include Indians from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, U.P. and Rajasthan etc. while there are also foreign nationals from Malaysia, Thailand, Srilanka and Kirghizstan etc.  They include 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. Their vast majority has tested negative, but some of those who 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.

The Commission said in its letter that these inmates are inhumanely treated — breakfasts are 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. Medical facilities and medicines are not provided while some of the inmates are diabetic and heart patients. Doctors rarely visit the patients. Inmates are not given necessary and life-saving medicines — as a result of which two diabetic patients have already died in the quarantine camp at Sultanpuri. Mohamed Mustafa (60) died on 22 April while Haji Rizwan died about ten days earlier. Both of the dead belonged to Tamil Nadu and both were diabetic and died due to denial of diabetic medicines and erratic food supply.

Based on information received from various sources including two inmates in Sultanpuri camp the Commission said that 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 further said in its letter that as on 23 April, Tabligh Jamaat inmates have completed 25 days under quarantine, much past the required 14 days period. Those who have tested negative must be allowed to move out of these camps which in effect are jails. Those who can go out of Delhi or stay elsewhere in the city must be facilitated to do so including stay in apartments or hotels at their expenses until the end of the lockdown period.

The Commission said in its letter that medical care, medicines and timely supply of food must be ensured to all the inmates of these camps and the administrative officers under whose care they are placed, like the area SDMs, should be made personally accountable for any lapse in the discharge of their duties.

The Commission also said in its letter that a majority of Muslim inmates in the quarantine camps will be keeping fast during the month of Ramzan. Therefore, the timing of the supply of food to them must also change and meticulously followed to suit fasting timing.

The Commission has also asked that tea bags, dried milk pouches, sugar, biscuits and mosquito repellents should be supplied to all inmates and said that 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 Commission has also requested LG and CM to order an enquiry to probe the deaths of the two inmates in Sultanpuri camp from Tamil Nadu and those found responsible for their deaths by negligence, denial of medicines and denial of timely supply of food, should be suitably punished.

In a separate earlier letter to both LG and CM, the Delhi Minorities Commission raised the issue of Azaan in Delhi mosques amid reports that police in some areas like Dwarka and South district are stopping mosques from using loudspeakers for azaan despite the fact that mosques all over Delhi are meticulously following the Coronavirus-related restrictions and no congregational prayers involving more than four persons are being held in any mosque.

The issue of Azaan from mosques is very pressing due to the beginning of the month of Ramzan when Muslims fast and break their fast on hearing the azaan at sunset time. Ramzan is starting in Delhi tomorrow, 25 April. The Commission has requested that azaan should not be banned from mosques while mosques will continue to meticulously follow the Covid19-restrictions on permitted numbers of people for any gathering and social distancing. No congregational prayers are being held in Delhi mosques since the lockdown but azaan continued. However, the Commission received information from some areas where policemen are telling mosques to stop azaan and in some cases they have even removed the loudspeakers.

The Commission also issued notice to DCPs of Dwarka and South districts to provide it with a copy of any such circular and if it does not exist, allow azaan in a mosque in their areas.


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