MHA orders FIRs against 960 foreign Tablighi Jamaat members

New Delhi: After revoking visas of 960 foreigners and blacklisting them from getting an Indian visa again, the Union Home Ministry has asked the Delhi Police Commissioner and state DGPs to file FIRs against the 960 Tablighi Jamaat’s foreign workers.

According to the home ministry, these foreigners had entered the country on tourist visas but engaged in Tablighi activities at its Nizamuddin headquarters.

“Their activities have endangered many lives in the ongoing Covid-19 public health emergency and violated India’s visa rules and the Foreigners Act,” the letter said.

Besides, the home ministry letter said the foreign nationals were also liable to face action under the Foreigners Act and Disaster Management Act.

“In view of the above, it is advised that legal action against all these foreigners and Indian nationals involved in the matter must be taken under the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 as well as for violation of statutory orders issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, and for offences committed under relevant sections of IPC (Indian Penal Code) as applicable in this matter,” the letter by the home ministry’s Pratap Singh Rawat said.

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“The decision to file FIRs reflected the determination of the government to come down on the Jamaat with the full weight of law to penalise them for their callous approach,” a senior Home Ministry official said Hindustan Times.

“The government took unprecedented decisions, shut down industries, offices, grounded planes and trains. But this group’s actions have threatened to jeopardise the entire lockdown,” the official said.

“The government did not intend to file cases against ordinary Tablighi workers if they stayed on the right side of the law,” he added.

“The idea was to proceed against Tablighi functionaries who facilitated the visas and stay of the foreign nationals,” he said.

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The Delhi Police has already registered one case against the Tablighi Jamaat’s leader after a large number of coronavirus cases were detected at the Markaz and evacuated.

“This advice to register criminal cases would not apply to another 360 Tablighi Jamaat’s workers have already left the country. But they will be blacklisted from entering the country again,” the police official said.

A home ministry official explained the police could invoke Section 269 and 270 of the penal code that prescribes upto six months imprisonment for negligence likely to spread infection of a dangerous disease and two years jail for a malignant act that spreads a dangerous disease.

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