A lot of bad press is circulating ranging from disinformation, hate, calumny, inexcusable excuses, falsification, defamation... Let me clarify my stand. I particularly challenge Muslim apologists and those that defend the role.You may choose to disagree and criticize every point so long as your language is respectful and the purpose is to correct the records, and to educate. Your emotional outburst and communal solidarity will not be respected. If you cannot stand fair assessment and honest self-criticism you are on a wrong page, and I will bear the loss of your friendship, if painfully.
1: I maintain that the holding of the conference was a STUPID decision [given that Corona turbulence was already making global noise and that the Iranians were dying like fodder by then already]. But I also maintain that the holding of the conference per se, was NOT ILLEGAL.
- It must be noted that sensible and knowledgeable people were canceling all such large gatherings. How I wish Muslims do not desire, much less compete, to be in the company of the imprudent.
- Some of us [me included] had started the campaign urging Muslims to avoid Jamaat #Namaaz much earlier. Obviously, these men did not pay heed. The largest of infected groups  came from Tamil Nadu. It was also from here that painful videos emerged showing police beating up for gathering at mosques!
2: The continuous stay AFTER the conference concluded on 15th March was not just stupid and irresponsible but outright illegal. On March 16, '20, Delhi Government ordered closure of all religious places in Delhi and soon banned gatherings larger than 200. Did or did NOT violate this?
3: The so-called letters exchanged between them and the police is a lame excuse. They RESPONDED to the police notice of the previous day. What were they doing till then? The transport was available before the lock-down, and specially before the Curfew. Why did they not return within a day or two of 15th March despite the gravity of the situation? Does anybody require govt notices NOT to commit suicide and murder? Did you see any evidence of their trying hard to disperse on 16th, 17th, 18th?
4. That Tirupati temple, Yogi, Hindu Mahasabha also collected crowds is not debatable. They may well have. Let them die. Are you OK with the also becoming the carriers of death to others - and specially to fellow #Muslims and to their own families?
5: Irresponsible and flagrant mismanagement of Labour Migration is NOT the issue here, either. Not only that one fiasco, but the government has mishandled many other issues. what is the point? Are you suggesting that we are free to further compound this problem? Would that help you and your families? Hold the govt to account on those counts but NOT in THIS context.
6: Now assess the damages caused by the foolish action, and later irresponsible and illegal inaction:
- A: the perception of Muslims as irresponsible, disobedient to law, placing faith over law and reason is further entrenched.
- B: to my last information 47 of them are still untraceable, having switched off their mobiles.
- C: many returned by trains, buses possibly infecting huge numbers. The cost of tracing them all out, to the tax payers, is mind-boggling. If the state doesn't trace them and leave them, many of them and their dear ones will die - along with many other innocents, perhaps including you and me. Do you want the state to LET MUSLIMS, AND THOSE THAT THEY INFECTED, GO UNDETECTED AND DIE?
- D: what is the point of all this indefensible defense: Who is the worst sufferer of negligence? THEY, THEIR FAMILIES, FELLOW MUSLIMS AND COMPLETELY UNATTACHED NON-MUSLIMS that may have come in contact with them. Do you want Hindus and others TO BOYCOTT every bearded Muslim?
- E: Ask the hapless children of those dying, critical and suspect: are they blaming the lock-down a week later or for the fact that their father went to the Markaz, in the first place, and overstayed? The Kashmiri man travelled to many other places after 15th and eventually died. His wife and sister are critical. Blame the govt?
7. Going by the records available to me so far, I can say that the Govt of India and the BJP top leadership acted responsibly [even if for strategic reasons, including international diplomatic relations]. If they did not - as they often didn't - this issue could have threatened the security of vast numbers of Muslims of India besides painting them poorly globally.
8. If India were a country of rule of law, this action of the would attract a charge of mass murder. Our general lawlessness cannot be the excuse for such gravely irresponsible action, especially by the pious and the compassionate.
9. It is deeply troubling that otherwise educated Muslims irresponsibly jump up to the defense of Muslims on every occasion - from 9/11 to Sri Lanka bombing to this fiasco. If you think that this can enhance the Muslim stock, good luck to you.
10: I care for Muslim masses as a human grouping that is paying dearly for the utter lack of knowledge and vision on the part of their leadership. Muslim cause can only be helped if derived from truthful, honest, fair criticism of ourselves, as that of others.
I URGE RESPONSIBLE MUSLIMS TO SQUARELY CONDEMN THIS ACT WITHOUT IFs AND BUTs TO CONVINCE INDIA THAT NOT ALL MUSLIMS NEGLECT PUBLIC HEALTH AND DISOBEY LAW.