Don’t communalise Covid-19 fight, says Jagan Reddy

Amaravati, April 4 (IANS) Appealing for unity in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy described the Tablighi Jamaat’s role as ‘inadvertent and unintentional’ in spreading the virus in the state.

In his appeal to the people, Reddy asked the people to desist from portraying the Tablighi Jamaat in a negative light over the developments that unfolded at its congregation in Delhi.
With the Tablighi Jamaat coming under attack from different quarters for the role it played in the spread of Covid-19, the AP chief minister stepped in to defend it on Saturday. Pointing out that the events involving the Tablighi Jamaat at Nizamuddin and the subsequent developments that unfolded across AP and other states were unintentional, he called a stop to attempts to tarnish the group’s reputation.
“Such a large gathering could have taken place at Sri Sri Ravishankar’s Art of Living, Jaggu Vasudev’s Isha Foundation, Brother Dinakaran’s congregations or elsewhere. This situation could have occurred anywhere, so while this is an unfortunate development, no religion should be blamed. Covid-19 does’nt discriminate between communities. portraying it as a deliberate attempt is wrong and should not be done. Nobody should try to put the blame against any particular community,” Reddy said in his televised appeal on Saturday.
Hundreds of people from the state had attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Markaz in Delhi, between March 15-17, where many participants from coronavirus affected countries were also present. Many of the participants who returned to the state by March 20, tested positive for Covid-19. The developments led to the Tablighi Jamaat being accused of spreading the virus in AP and other states in the country.
On Saturday, a day before the country is to switch off lights and light lamps as per Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call, the AP chief minister called upon the people of the state to participate in the event. He described the current crisis as a situation where ‘we have to stay away from each other but fight as one’.
The chief minister also informed the people of the government’s decision to release the entire salaries of employees in the departments ranged in the frontline against Covid-19. Earlier this week, the government had decided to defer payments, by varying degrees, to government employees due to the financial crunch caused by the Covid-19 crisis.
“Salaries will be released in full for frontline workers in Covid-19, such as medical and health dept, police, and sanitation department workers,” he said.