COVID-19 in India: It’s Time to Leave the Tablighi Jamaat Incident Behind Us

In his daily briefings, the health ministry spokesman – a joint secretary level officer – repeatedly underscores the fact that almost a third of all COVID-19 infected people in India have a connection to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Nizamuddin last month. The constant reiteration may perhaps be justified if the intent is merely to warn people of the dangers of clusters catching the contagion. However, the  public health costs of the resulting stigmatisation of the Jamaat – when amplified by the media and social media – could outweigh the benefits, if any, of this messaging. In any case, surely there are other far more important matters regarding the epidemic that need to be discussed or debated than repeatedly cataloguing the minutiae of this one incident.

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