Delhi

‘The infection is not about a religion, community or nation’

Sohrabh Khan (centre) with others quarantined at the Malabh Polytechnic College in Nuh.  

RASEEL RAHMAN

39, Kozhikode (Kerala)

How did it feel to become a “corona warrior” after being labelled “corona spreader” by sections of the media? Raseel Rahman chuckled: “It’s all people’s choice. We (Tablighis) don’t want any label.”

He said some people formed an opinion about the Tablighi Jamaat without knowing what had actually happened at the Nizamuddin centre in the days leading up to announcement of the nationwide lockdown on March 24. Having recovered from COVID-19, Raseel, from Kerala’s Kozhikode, was under quarantine at Nuh’s Malabh Polytechnic College till May 2.

A Tablighi Jamaat worker, the 39-year-old is one of those who have offered to donate their plasma for the treatment of those infected with the deadly virus. The Haryana government, however, is yet to initiate the process of collecting plasma.

Raseel said his decision to donate plasma was not to seek anyone’s approval, but for the “pleasure of his creator”. “Whatever we [the Tablighis] do, whether in public or in private, is not to show off or to earn a label. We want the pleasure of our creator. This is our only focus,” he said.

Scheduled to return to Kozhikode on March 30, the commerce graduate was left stranded due to the sudden lockdown. Out to propagate the Tablighi Jamaat’s message in Nuh, Raseel voluntarily went to a government health camp in Bisru village on March 30. Along with some other Tabligh workers, he was taken to Malabh Polytechnic College the next day and then to Al Afai Civil Hospital on being diagnosed with influenza-like Illness symptoms.

The results for the test came two days later after a swab was taken on April 1 and Raseel, along with three others, tested positive. He was then taken to Shaheed Hasan Khan Mewati Government Medical College and discharged on April 16.

MOHAMMED ALAMGIR32, Sitamarhi (Bihar)

A footwear seller from Bihar’s Sitamarhi district, Mohammad Alamgir, also quarantined at the Malabh Polytechnic College in Nuh, said he felt good about his decision to donate plasma since someone could benefit. The 32-year-old said he had not watched television since he reached Delhi for a Tabligh programme on March 10 and did not know what people had to say about the cluster of cases emanating from the Tabligh’s Nizamuddin centre, but “we are sorry if we have caused illness to anyone”.

Alamgir said he had reached Pinangwan in Nuh on March 11 for a 40-day Tabligh programme after spending a day at the Nizamuddin centre before he tested positive for COVID-19 on April 6. He said he reached Punhana camp after the sarpanch told him about the administration’s directions and was found infected along with three more people in his group of 11. Raring to go back home, Alamgir said that he would abide by the directions of the government and the doctors.

SOHRABH KHAN70, Nuh (Haryana)

A retired Central Reserve Police Force Assistant Commandant, Chaudhary Hazi Sohrabh Khan is waiting to return home after his quarantine ends on May 5. He had gone to Malaysia along with six more people from Nuh for a Tablighi Jamaat congregation and tested positive on his return.

He also spent two days at the Nizamuddin centre on his return from Malaysia on March 17 and was tested only after 10 days. He has now offered to donate his plasma. A resident of Siroli village in Nuh, Sohrabh said it was wrong to single out a community for the spread of the infection since it was not about a religion, a community or a nation. “It is just because we were travelling that we contracted the virus. Lakhs of people have been infected and they are from different religions. An illness cannot be associated with one community,” said Sohrabh.

Sohrabh, 70, said he had donated his blood on several occasions earlier during his long government service and was willing to do it again. He was hopeful that people’s opinion about the Tablighis in particular and Muslims in general would change as misconceptions disappear.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 2:33:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/the-infection-is-not-about-a-religion-community-or-nation/article31496148.ece

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