A delegation of Muslim clerics from various countries was barred from preaching and attending the religious discourses in Unnao.
With the district administration refusing to bend, the delegation popularly known as "Jamaat" associated with "Tabhleeghi Jamaat", belonging to Wahabi sect, returned to New Delhi on Monday. The Jamaat had come from Malaysia on May 5 with elaborate plan for mass contact through religious discourses.
Trouble started when the local intelligence unit (LIU) found their visas weren’t conforming to their plan. Members of delegation, instead of Missionary Visas, had taken tourist visas for religious tour. Superintendent of Police, Unnao, AK Shukla said: “one cannot undertake or participate in religious activities on a tourist visa. This is against the rules laid down in foreigners’ act 1946.”
“We have communicated them the decision and they have agreed to abide by the country’s law,” the SP told HT. This is the first time a Tablighee Jamaat, which hosts about 6,000 small and big delegations every year, was restricted in the state.
The Unnao delegation comprised of eight members—three from Egypt, one each from Israel and Malaysia and three from United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Each of them came separately to Tableeghi Jamat’s head office at Nizamuddin in New Delhi where they were assigned Unnao for a period of 25 days. The delegation came on April 30 and their local sponsor Dr Taha Farooqi made arrangements for stay at Masjid Sheikhwada. The LIU acted after their papers were submitted for verification scuttling their plans to visit Bangarmau, Safipur and other places to preach and organise religious discourses.
Sources in state Home Department in Lucknow said the Union Ministry of Home Affairs recently issued a strict advisory to all the states asking them not to allow any delegation indulge in religious activities if visas aren’t missionary.
Every year thousands of delegations belonging to different communities pour into India and go preaching or do missionary work at places designated for them. Within the Muslim community many groups are involved into sending Jamaats but biggest and best resourced is Tableeghi Jamaat that dispatched delegation to Unnao.
People associated with the group and unwilling to be named said about five lakh Jamaat members travel state to state and country to country as religious preachers at a time.
“It was surprising to all of us initially. Many jamaats came and went by without a hassle. Country’s laws are paramount and in future it would be kept in mind the jamaat members come on missionary visa,” said Dr Farooqi.
In their over a week long stay at Unnao, the delegation members weren’t allowed to attend any programmes organised for them. Nor were they allowed to stay at the mosque from where they had to shift to a seminary. Dr Farooqi said the members left by Neelanchal Express for Delhi from where they will proceed to their respective countries.