Coronavirus pandemic has shook the country to its foundations where everything from economic growth to communal harmony have come under a threat. So far, india is seen as effectively slowing down the spread of the pandemic due to timely lockdown measures. The nationwide lockdown was announced by PM Modi on 23rd March and it is being extended ever since.
International organizations have applauded the efforts of Indian government for bringing the doubling rate of infected cases from 3 days to 12 days which is a big accomplishment given how developed countries like US have failed to contain the spread of this highly contagious disease.
However, International Community has also criticized India for communalizing the pandemic by blaming it on a particular community. The search for scapegoats during the coronavirus pandemic has focused squarely on the country’s sizable Muslim minority, a community of 200 million that felt under threat even before the advent of COVID-19.
News channels and some ruling-party officials rushed to blame Muslims for the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country after a small Muslim group in New Delhi held a small gathering with the permission of authorities. In recent weeks, Muslims have been assaulted, denied medical care and subjected to boycotts in the name of fear of the virus.
While India stands out for the wave of vitriol directed toward its Muslim community, it is not alone. In the United States and Europe, there have been reports of discrimination and attacks on people from Asia. China has seen Africans being evicted and refused entry to restaurants amid fears that foreigners could spark a new round of infections.
India also charged one of the movement’s leaders, Muhammad Saad with culpable homicide. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison. Being in hiding, his spokesman Musharraf Ali Khan issued a video statement urging followers to cooperate with police.
He has issued a statement: Turn yourself in if you’ve spent time at any Jamaat event. Cooperate with police, who are trying to contact-trace you. There’s no need to hide or misbehave.
News reports were floated of their misbehavior and indecency which later turned out to be untrue including one allegedly capturing Muslim men intentionally sneezing on others to infect them. In fact, the video was filmed months ago and had no connection to the coronavirus whatsoever. But anger had nevertheless exploded across India. Poisonous messages exploded across Twitter via hashtags like #CoronaJihad, #Biojihad, and #TablighiJamatVirus claiming Muslims intentionally spread the virus. These same conspiracy theories have been supported by the country’s ruling party officials, national television channels, and journalists asking whether Indian agencies should seriously probe if #CoronaJihad is a reality.
Despite all the vitriol and hatred against the community, they have come out to help the government authorities in any and every way they can. They have offered to donate the plasma in their blood to help save the lives of those infected with Coronavirus.
One Tablighi Jamaat member commented that apart from helping the critically ill patients to recover from COVID-19, one reason to make this offer was to counter the ‘baseless accusations’ hurled against them that Tablighi Jamaatis were responsible for the spread of the virus following the religious congregation of the sect held at Delhi’s Nizamuddin area last month.
Another member Mohammad Abbas, a thirty-eight year old businessman from Tiruppur was on Sunday discharged from Coimbatore’s ESI hospital. He has said that as soon as I got discharged, I met the district administration officials and the dean of the hospital and told them that they may contact me anytime if they needed me to donate my plasma.