Almost a year after being hounded for the alleged spread of COVID-19, things are limping back to normal for the Tablighi Jamaat. Though the organisation’s headquarters at Nizamuddin in New Delhi remains closed, the Jamaat volunteers have resumed normal activities by fanning out to various mosques across North India. The Tablighi Jamaat has resumed the three activities associated with it, including that of dawah (invitation), gasht (going door-to-door) and chilla (a 40-day period spent inside a mosque).
Although its president is not active (Maulana Saad, who helms the organisation, has not met the Jamaat volunteers since the outbreak of COVID-19 last year), the volunteers initially resumed their activities of prayers and self-transformation lectures from a mosque in central Delhi before shifting to private premises in South-East Delhi.
Immediately after various courts in Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai and Bengaluru acquitted the Jamaat members charged with offences under Sections 188 and 269 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act and the relevant provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the local Indian members resumed their normal activities. As mosques were thrown open to the general public earlier this year, the Tablighi Jamaat members resumed their small sessions after Fajr, the dawn prayers, at various mosques. Soon after, they started circulating among the common people, inviting them to undertake three-day trips or even the 40-day chillas.
Now, the Jamaat volunteers from Delhi have undertaken outstation trips too, beginning their 40-day chillas with places like Alwar, Jaipur, Indore, Mandsaur, Bulandshahr and Saharanpur. A Jamaat volunteer undertaking a local three-day trip claimed that the Jamaat members had already gone to Sudan while another batch had sought visas for Uganda.
Meanwhile, attempts are afoot to seek permission to reopen the Markaz. In February this year, the Delhi High Court sought the response of the Centre, the Delhi government and the police on a plea seeking the opening of the Nizamuddin Markaz. Justice Mukta Gupta issued a notice to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Delhi government and the Delhi Police seeking their stand on the petition filed by the Delhi Waqf Board.