New Delhi: The Central Intelligence agencies are keeping a close watch as the number of COVID-19 cases relating to the Tablighi Jamaat cluster have surged.

In Tamil Nadu alone, 133 foreign Muslim missionaries are under the scanner. Some of them even tested positive. It has been found that most of them avoided the agencies by hiding in Mosques.

An Intelligence Bureau official explained that most of these Tablighis hid in Mosques after the congregation in Delhi last month. They have accounted for almost 60 per cent of the cases that the country has reported. We are finding out if they were involved only in religious work or had some other motive as well, the officer also said.

It may be recalled that the Union Home Ministry had blacklisted 960 foreigners present in India on a tourist visa for their involvement with Tablighi related activities. The foreign nationals of Tablighi have been found from Indonesia, Ethiopia, France, US, Malaysia, Cameron and Thailand.

The officer cited above said that they would be probing why so many Tablighis decided to take shelter in Mosques, instead of coming out and taking the mandatory tests. Scores of cases have already been booked, but we will also need to see if they had any motive, by deliberately avoiding the law enforcement agencies and the medical staff, the officer also noted.

The Tablighi congregation and its after-effects have been nothing short of a nightmare for India, which is fighting the pandemic. The first big task was to evacuate the Jamaat headquarters, where there were around 2,300 people. It was at this time that the agencies learnt that several foreigners had gone missing and it was later found that most of them were staying in different Mosques across the city.

The police drew out a list of around 16 Mosques and sought the help of the Delhi government in locating these persons. The Delhi Police learnt that there were around 180 foreigners who had shifted to the different Mosques in the city. Apart from searching the Mosques, the police also managed to locate with the help of the local officials 600 foreigners linked to the Jamaat.

The police say that they are in the lookout for 200 more. Meanwhile, the authorities have managed to place the Jamaat workers in government-run quarantine facilities across the national capital. The process of testing those found in the Mosques will be completed today. This is a crucial stage as if any of these persons test positive, then the worry is how many more would these persons have infected. This is another trail that the agencies would are on.