New Delhi: Some of the 160-odd Tablighi Jamaat attendees quarantined at a railway facility in southeast Delhi “misbehaved” with and “even spit” at doctors and healthcare personnel attending to them, a railway spokesperson said on Wednesday.
A total of 167 attendees were taken to the makeshift quarantine centres set up on the railway property in Tughlakabad on Tuesday evening after being evacuated from the Nizamuddin Markaz, the Tablighi Jamaat headquarters in south Delhi which has emerged as a COVID-19 hotspot.
After the attendees were accommodated in the facility, residents of the railway colony raised concerns over their safety and said they feared about spread of the deadly virus, prompting senior officials to request local authorities for necessary action, sources said.
“At the quarantine centres, they (attendees) misbehaved with the staff and even raised objections over the food being served to them… They even spit at the doctors and those attending to them and refused to stop roaming around the quarantine facilities,” Northern Railway spokesperson Deepak Kumar said.
“We informed the DM (district magistrate of) South East Delhi to arrange necessary security to control them or to shift them to any other suitable place. At 5:30 pm, four Delhi Police constables and six CRPF jawans along with a PCR van have been deployed at the quarantine centres,” Kumar said.
Ninety-seven of the attendees were accommodated in the Diesel Shed Training School Hostel Quarantine Centre and 70 were kept at the RPF Barrack Quarantine Centre by the district authorities.
Residents alleged that the colony was not sanitized even 24 hours after the people were quarantined there. Fearing spread of the virus, the residents remained indoors and could not even go out to procure essentials.
“While standing near the bus, many of the people coughed, sneezed and even spit on the road. How are we to feel safe?” a resident told PTI.
Sources say that senior officials of the railways have already spoken to the district authorities on the issue.
“The railways has informed the relevant authorities and steps are being taken to ensure their safety,” one of the sources said.
Tabligh-e-Jamaat’s Markaz in Nizamuddin West has emerged as an epicentre for spread of the coronavirus in different parts of the country after thousands of people took part in a congregation from March 1-15.
Six people who died in Telangana and one in Jammu and Kashmir had attended the congregation. In Delhi alone, 24 participants tested positive for the disease. By Wednesday morning, a total of 2,346 persons were evacuated from the centre, of whom 536 were hospitalised, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said.
After the matter came to light, the Centre and state governments swung into action to trace people who had attended the congregation.
The railways helped in tracing people who came in contact with the participants, many of whom took trains bound for southern India from Delhi. As many as five trains and thousands of people are now under the scanner.