Prof Rao files PIL against profiling of Muslims in Coronavirus

Hyderabad: Prof PL Vishweshwar Rao, Vice-President of Telangana Jana Samithi, has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in Telangana High Court  on Saturday (April 18), against ‘maliciously’ profiling Muslim Community in the Covid-19 issue which violates several constitutional provisions

Classifying Covid-19 cases as Tablighi Jamaat

The PIL sought directions to restrain Telangana Chief Minister, Telangana Home Minister and Mass Media from classifying some Covid-19 cases as ‘Tablighi Jamat’ or ‘Masjid’, ‘Markaz’ cases. It noted that such classification amounts to religious profiling and discrimination on basis of religion which is against rights guaranteed by the Constitution under Article 14, Article 15, Article 16, Article 17, Article 25, Article 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 which emanate from the general principle of equality before law and equal protection of the laws guaranteed by Article 14 of the Constitution.

167 who returned from Nizamuddin quarantined: Himachal DGP
Photo: PTI

Religious profiling of patients

The PIL pointed out that the Telangana Chief Minister, the Health Minister and mass media have been blatantly referring to Covid-19 patients in Telangana as the  ‘Tablighi Jamat cases’, or ‘Masjid Markaz cases’ which amounts to religious profiling of the patients leading to discrimination against such patients.

Violation of constitutional duties

PIL observed that Telangana Health Minister Etala Rajender has named openly and blatantly Tablighi Jamat returnees from Delhi and held them responsible for the spread of Covid-19 in Telangana. It added that it is an not only unethical and immoral but a violation of his Constitutional duties as a minister.

Attempt to malign and typecast the Muslim citizens

Mr Rao in his PIL said that the Health Minister’s appeal to the 600-odd returnees from the Markaz of Tablighi Jamat and their contacts wherever they are in the State to report to the authorities is an attempt to malign and typecast the Muslim citizens of Telangana as carriers of Covid-19.

Facts are contrary

The PIL clarified that the facts are contrary to the panic created by government over the Tablighi attendees in Telangana since more than 200 of them have tested negative and have been discharged from various hospitals.

Muslim community branded as spreaders of Covid-19

It added that Muslim community as a whole is being branded as spreaders of Covid-19 which has led to several cases of discrimination against Muslim citizens in the Telangana State.

Stigmatisation and politicization of the Tablighi Jamat event

Claiming that stigmatisation and politicization of the Tablighi Jamat event and tracing specifically of the attendees by the government agencies has sent out wrong signals to the Muslim community of being marked, the PIL states that the above facts clearly violate the Constitutional rights of the Muslim citizens of Telangana.

Constitution guarantees right to equality

The PIL also quoted various articles of the Constitution which guarantees Right to Equality before the law and equal protection of the laws.

Reports of mass media quoted

The PIL also presented reports of mass media of speeches and press conferences of Telangana Chief Minister, Telangana Health Minister and other government officials that are in the public domain that support and strengthen the petitioner’s arguments that these statements have stigmatized the Muslim community.