Tablighi Jamaat case: 12 more charge sheets against foreigners

Updated on Jun 20, 2020 02:32 AM IST

A religious congregation was held inside the Markaz in March, which had a gathering of around 3000 persons, including many from several countries.

Paramilitary personnel seen at the cordoned off entry route to the Tablighi Jamaat's Alami Markaz Banglewali Masjid building.(Sanjeev Verma/HT FILE PHOTO)
Paramilitary personnel seen at the cordoned off entry route to the Tablighi Jamaat's Alami Markaz Banglewali Masjid building.(Sanjeev Verma/HT FILE PHOTO)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

The Delhi Police on Friday filed 12 charge sheets against foreigners who had gathered at the Nizamuddin Markaz—which was one of the first Covid-19 hot spots in the national capital—taking the total number of charge sheets (comprising nearly 50,000 pages) filed against foreigners to 59.

The dozen charge sheets on Friday were filed against 41 foreigners who belong to 12 different countries. In all, so far, 956 foreigners belonging to 36 different countries—mainly Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan and Malaysia—have been charged by the police till date.

A statement issued by the police on Friday said that none of these foreigners have been arrested so far and they are staying at various places in Delhi that have been approved by the High Court. “The court has fixed June 25 and July 9 and 16 for further proceedings in the case,” the police statement read.

The crime branch registered the FIR against the foreigners on March 31 after the station house officer of the Nizamuddin police station filed a complaint alleging violations of various government orders and directions by the management of the Markaz.

The FIR was registered under the Epidemic Diseases Act, the Disaster Management Act and the Indian Penal Code which include the stringent sections of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and criminal conspiracy.

The people named in the FIR include Tablighi Jamaat chief Maulana Saad and six other top officials of the religious sect on March 31 for defying a series of government directives, which curbed religious and large gatherings to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the national capital.

A religious congregation was held inside the Markaz in March, which had a gathering of around 3000 persons, including many from several countries.

Saad is yet to be questioned by the police.

More than 2,300 people, including foreigners, were evacuated from the Tablighi Jamaat headquarters in March-end and lodged in quarantine facilities in Delhi by the authorities. In April, the religious sect’s headquarters was then the single largest hot spot across the city.

The police said that all the foreign nationals have been charged with offences such as violation of visa rules, government guidelines and regulations regarding the Epidemic Diseases Act and Disaster Management Act, the prohibitory orders and disobeying quarantine rules.

“The government has already cancelled the visas and blacklisted those who had visited India on a tourist visa and had illegally participated in the religious congregation at the Markaz,” the police added.

The first lot of 47 charge sheets against the foreigners were filed over three days between May 26 and 28.

Advocate Fuzail Ayyubi, who is representing the Tablighi Jamaat, said that while “at this stage, it’s not prudent to comment on the merits of the charge sheet, nevertheless all legal options and recourses as available under the law are being considered”.

“The same shall be availed as and when such an occasion arises. As far as foreigners are concerned it’s quite strange that they are being chargesheeted now since they have been coming here for this purpose on the strength of the same visa for years,” Ayyubi said.

“As per the law, there is no prohibition against any foreigner visiting any mosque in our country as such,” he added.

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