Thursday, April 9, 2020

Centre refutes Maharashtra charge

by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

Centre refutes Maharashtra charge 
No Permission was needed to Hold Tablighi Markaz
Centre stepped in to diffuse crisis
Harish Gupta
New Delhi, April 8

The Centre today refused to be drawn into any controversy with the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at its Nizamuddin headquarters saying it was for the Delhi government to deal with it. 
The Delhi government, on its part, said since the conference was not to be held at a public place and inside its own six storeyed  building at Nizamuddin, no permission was needed. It was held inside their own building and for their own followers.
The Union Home Ministry deals only with the cases of those persons who come to India from abroad on various kinds of visas. The home ministry through the special branch of the police regularly keeps itself posted through a Foreigners register maintained by the holders of such conferences.  Since no permission was needed to hold a conference inside the Markaz from the special branch, no permission was given.
Without getting involved into the slinging match with the Maharashtra government, sources in the MHA  say that the Tablighi Jammat  was refused permission by the state as they wanted the conference to be held in an open area. But the case in Delhi was different as it was inside its own building.  There were no orders against holding any congregation before March 13 when it began.
The whole problem began when they refused to disperse after the conference on March 16.
Sources in the Home Ministry say that when the Delhi government headed by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal through the office of Lt. Governor Anil Baijal sought help in getting the followers of TJ dispersed and that too on March 22-23, the Delhi Police stepped in a formal manner.
The MHA sources refused to say anything with regard to the indulgence of National Security Adviser Ajit Doval to resolve the issue.
 However, sources in the PMO say that Doval has always been a backroom boy whenever it comes to handling tricky issues for the Prime Minister particularly relating to minorities. When the minorities were needed to be wooed in Jammu & Kashmir, Ajit Doval was deployed to undertake an extensive personal tour for three days and camped there.
Doval was the top official to visit the North East Delhi’s riot-stricken areas in February 27-28. Obviously, the PM deployed Doval as Amit Shah could not have done this for variety of reasons.
In the case of Tablighi Jamaat, the government tried hard to woo them through various sources including Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s close associate from Gujrat, Zafar Sareshwala who is a Tablighi himself. But the chief of the TJ, Moulana Saad refused to listen to him. Then Doval stepped in on March 28 to diffuse the situation.
Efforts to solicit response from Ajit Doval did not succeed and it remain a mystery as to why the Delhi Government, Delhi Police and  Union Home Ministry did not disperse the crowd immediately after the conference was over on March 15.