Bombay High Court quashes FIRs against foreigners who attended Tablighi Jamaat congregation

A view of the Tablighi Jamaat centre in Nizamuddin. File
Sonam SaigalAugust 22, 2020 12:49 IST
Updated: August 22, 2020 21:51 IST

The court was hearing a plea filed by 29 foreign nationals who were booked under various sections.

The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court on Friday quashed FIRs against foreigners who attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Nizamuddin in Delhi and said “the Maharashtra police acted mechanically.”

A division bench of Justice TV Nalawade and Justice MG Sewlikar said, “It appears that the State Government acted under political compulsion and police also did not dare to exercise powers given to them under provisions of procedural laws and substantive laws. A political government tries to find the scapegoat when there is pandemic or calamity and the circumstances show that there is probability that these foreigners were chosen to make them scapegoats.”

Also read:

Tablighi Jamaat, an island unto itself

The court was hearing a plea filed by 29 foreign nationals who were booked under sections of Indian Penal Code, Epidemic Diseases Act, Maharashtra Police Act, Disaster Management Act and Foreigner's Act for allegedly violating their Tourist Visa conditions by attending the congregation

The 58 page judgment said, “The allegations are very vague in nature and from these allegations inference is not possible at any stage that they were spreading Islam religion and there was intention of conversion. The Government cannot give different treatment to citizens of different religions of different countries.”

Also read: Tablighi Jamaat gathering: Clarify on blacklisting 3,500 foreign nationals, SC tells govt

NRC and CAA Protests

“There were protests by taking processions, holding dharna at many places in India from at least from prior to January 2020. Most of the persons participating in the protest were Muslims. It is their contention that the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 is discriminatory against the Muslims. They believe that Indian citizenship will not be granted to Muslim refugees and migrants. They were protesting against National Registration of Citizenship.”

Also read: Understanding the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019

“It can be said that due to the present action taken, fear was created in the minds of those Muslims. This action indirectly gave warning to Indian Muslims that action in any form and for any thing can be taken against Muslims. It was indicated that even for keeping contact with Muslims of other countries, action will be taken against them. Thus, there is smell of malice to the action taken against these foreigners and Muslim for their alleged activities. The circumstances like malice is important consideration when relief is claimed of quashing of FIR and the case itself.”

Role of media

“There was big propaganda in print media and electronic media against the foreigners who had come to Markaz Delhi and an attempt was made to create a picture that these foreigners were responsible for spreading COVID-19 virus in India. There was virtually persecution against these foreigners.”

“The circumstances and the latest figures of infection in India show that such action against present petitioners should not have been taken. It is now high time for the concerned authorities to repent about this action taken against the foreigners and to take some positive steps to repair the damage done by such action. The material of the present matter shows that the

propaganda against the so called religious activity was unwarranted.”

Our culture

In our culture, there is saying like “ Atithi Devo Bhava ” which means that our guest is our God. The circumstances of the present

matter create a question as to whether we are really acting as per our great tradition and culture

“During the situation created by COVID-19 pandemic, we need to show more tolerance and we need to be more sensitive towards our guests particularly like the present petitioners. The allegations made show that instead of helping them we lodged them in jails by making allegations that they are responsible for violation of travel documents, they are responsible for spreading of virus etc.”

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