Thiruvananthapuram: When the state leadership is celebrating that the spread of COVID-19 has been contained in the state, it is silent about the missing 284 Tablighi Jamaat attendees who returned to the state. It is feared that these missing people could spread the virus throughout the state.
India Today, in a shocking revelation, reported that out of the total 1,311 Keralites who attended the Tablighi Jamaat, there is no information about 284 of them. The police have not been able to track them and the government seems to have kept this under wraps.
518 people who attended the Tablighi Jamaat convention at Nizamuddin in Delhi are identified and quarantined. Out of these, six are already tested positive for COVID-19. Another 509 Keralites who attended the meeting are currently in other states and are under quarantine there.
The top police officials have said that the mobile phones of these missing Tablighis are switched off and this is making it more difficult for the security agencies to track them down. If these persons mingle with the rest of the population then the situation in Kerala will turn for the worse, when the lockdown is lifted after 3 May.
The Intelligence Bureau (IB) had begun the hunt for tracing the Tablighi Jamaat attendees since late March. Most of them were identified by analyzing the call history of all cell towers based in Nizamuddin. On 29 March itself, the Director of IB asked state DGPs, including Kerala DGP, Lokanath Behera, to trace the members of Tablighi Jamaat.
Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, had ordered the police to identify the members of Tablighi Jamaat and put them under quarantine. But he specifically ordered the investigation to be done secretly so as not to garner media attention. It is shocking that the public was kept in the dark about this threat.
With 284 potential carriers of the virus still missing in the state, a time bomb is ticking for another outbreak of COVID-19 in Kerala. And this time it could be worse, unless the government track and isolate them.