Shri. Narendra Modi ji
Prime Minister of India
I am writing this to convey my pain and distress by hearing every day brief of Ministry of Health regarding ‘Coronavirus’ with a specific mention of Tabligh-e-Jamaat. This is not to justify the Tabligh-e-Jamaat’s organization of the annual congregation from 13th to 15th March in Delhi. It is definitely a grave mistake of the Markaz to organize the program at these circumstances of the pandemic of Covid-19. However, this program of Markaz cannot be considered intentional as some people described it as ‘Corona-Jihad’. In entirely honest account, the mistake by Markaz should be viewed like any other gathering at other religious places such as Balaji, Vaishno Devi & ISKCON, London at the same time. Therefore, the Corona affected people of Markaz should be viewed as victims rather culprits.
I would like to draw your attention to the official briefing of Jt. Secretary, Health and the Jt. Secretary MHA where a specific mention of Tabligh-e-Jamaat is being made. In the brief the classification of the affected people makes a difference between the Markaz related people and the others or the total number of people affected and out of which how many are related to Markaz. This was in all accords completely improper, unethical on the part of government officials to point towards a particular community. Certainly, this goes against the norms of public life.
At a time where India is fighting tooth and nail with a pandemic, to view such a callous attitude of officials begs us to ponder whether the concerned officials had direct instructions from the higher up to name a community in this manner or they have turned completely irresponsible and insensitive in carrying out their sovereign duties? In a diverse country like India, to blame and hold responsible an entire community for the COVID-19 pandemic is not only highly objectionable but even unwarranted. It shows complete bias of the establishment towards a particular community.
What makes it more unbearable is that even the so called responsible media also openly started blaming and holding an entire community responsible for the COVID-19 spread by breaching all journalistic ethics and norms. Neither did our very reliable I&B Ministry take note nor did it instruct channels to stick to the norms. It is a very sorry state of affairs to learn of such unison.
Presently we are all focused on Covid-19 threat on one hand, and on the other hand the slogans being released such as ‘Markaz mayhem explodes’ and topics pouring such as ‘Tablighivirus’ & ‘Coronajihad’ are trending. It shows how quickly the debate on virus turned communal, and how a section of media is dedicated in playing its negative role in order to hold Muslim community accountable for all the wrong doings in our country. Is this the idea of India for us today which battles one ‘COVID-19’ virus with ‘Communal Hatred’ virus?
The above attitudes lead to mistakes in reporting statistics. To quote Joyojeet Pal, Associate Professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information “For numbers around the proportion of Jamaat-related positive cases to have any meaning, sampling information must also be provided. If it is reported that 60% positive cases are Jamaat related, they must also tell us what proportion of people tested were Jamaat related,” as stated by him in Scroll.in.
A lot of the press has ignored this basic rule of reporting statistics, thus tending to sensationalize, and more importantly, misreporting the figures. Since here many senior journalists and even the Union Government naively and mistakenly assumed Tabligh-e-Jamaat to be a uniquely potent spreader, this has led to false quoting and misleading accusations on the congregation.
Even worse is that it has led to extreme communalization of Covid-19, with many organization’s IT Cell, as well as many news organizations absurdly blaming Muslims for the spread of the pandemic.
In the end I can only say that it aches my heart to see such an attitude of a screwed bias of the officials and even the media that no longer serves us in reaching the truth. It seems that they have fallen sick and have bent their core responsibility of ‘Truth comes First’.
I will wish and hope that you’ll take remedial measures to ensure that our beloved nation does not fall prey to such miscreants and thereby bleeds in vain.
With high regards
Former Member of Parliament
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