Warrant not needed to search hidden Jamaat members: Goa CM

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    Panaji, April 2 (IANS) Forty six persons who arrived in Goa after attending the Tablighi Jamaat meet in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area last month, have been quarantined and police are instructed to search for them everywhere, even in people’s homes, without a search warrant, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said on Thursday.

    Sawant also told a press conference in Panaji, that none of the 46 persons, any of whom were hiding in mosques, hailed from Goa and a probe had been ordered to find out the reasons they had come to the state after attending the convention. The Jamaat meet in the national capital has now emerged as the country’s biggest hotspots for transmission of the deadly virus.

    “These 46 persons are responsible for turning Goa into an unsafe zone once again. People should know this. None of them are from Goa,” Sawant said.

    When asked if search orders were needed, for the authorities to inspect the interiors of mosques and other places to check if more members of the Jamaat were in hiding, Sawant said: “I have told them to search anywhere. No need for search warrant. Even if they (authorities) are at some home, they should enter their homes and search”.

    Sawant also urged people, especially religious leaders, to inform the government if more persons who had attended the Jamaat were in hiding, claiming that their presence was a threat to people living in the vicinity, especially those who had previous contact with them.

    “All PIs (police inspectors) are checking mosques. Muslim brothers should co-operate. This is to do with Goa and India, not related to any caste and religion. Those who continue to hide in mosques, they should come forward,” Sawant said.

    Chief Minister also said, that during a video conference of Chief Ministers with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier on Thursday, the latter had asked state governments to urge religious leaders of all faiths to instruct their respective followers via video conference, about the perils of praying together without maintaining social distancing.

    “Some people do not listen to government, they need to listen to religious leaders. Coronavirus can infect people of any religion,” Sawant said.

    When asked for his opinion as to whether the lockdown period should be extended beyond April 14 and what measures would the Goa government adopt, after the 21-day period of lockdown ends, Sawant said, that considering the high number of COVID-19 positive cases in the neighbouring states, Goa could continue to shut down borders for passenger and non-essential traffic.

    “It is important to close the state borders for some more time (after lockdown), because our neighbouring states of Karnataka and Maharashtra have a lot of cases,” Sawant said.

    –IANS

    maya/rt