Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Saturday, April 4, responded to the Delhi's Nizamuddin Markaz event saying that the attendees of the religious gathering who have tested positive for COVID-19 should not be treated, instead they should be shot dead.

Hinting towards a "devious conspiracy" behind the event, Thackeray suggested that the Tablighi Jamaat members should be lashed at physically.

Raj Thackeray

The Nizamuddin area of the national capital emerged as the hotspot of the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country with the members of the organization attributing to the sharp spike in the number of COVID-19 cases across states.

Thackeray's 'they should be shot' remark

While interacting with the media for the first time since the 21-day nationwide lockdown, Thackeray said that the Markaz attendees, who reportedly misbehaved with medical staff during quarantine, should be thrashed on camera and the videos should be shared on social media.

"The Markaz issue that took place in Delhi, is exasperating. Why should they be treated? They should be shot," said Thackeray.

"Our country is undergoing such a huge crisis and at such times, they are putting religion above the nation. And if there is some devious conspiracy on; then such elements need to be singled out and lashed at physically. And such videos need to go viral," he added.

Thackeray also demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention in the matter.

The religious congregation at the organization's Delhi headquarter saw thousands of attendees including delegates from Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and Kyrgyzstan. The event had concluded on March 15 but many members chose to stay at the Markaz. It is being said that some of those who stayed back were infected with the deadly virus.

COVID-19 cases race past 3000-mark

As per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data, India witnessed an increase of 525 COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the largest spike in a day so far. The total number of positive cases has now risen to 3072 including 2784 active cases, 213 cured people and 75 deaths.

Basic protective measures against the new coronavirus

Out of the total cases, 1023 have been found to be linked to the Delhi Markaz event, revealed Lav Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry. Besides, around 22,000 Tableeghi Jamaat workers and their contacts have been quarantined all over the country.