Don’t deport foreigners engaged in Tablighi activities: Centre

Home Ministry asks States to book them under National Disaster Management Act

April 22, 2020 11:14 pm | Updated December 03, 2021 06:34 am IST - CHENNAI

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has written to all States that foreign nationals who came on a tourist visa and took part in Tablighi Jamaat activities in India should not be deported after the COVID-19 quarantine period.

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In a letter to all Chief Secretaries, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said punitive action under the National Disaster Management Act, 2005, The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, Sections 13 and 14 of the Foreigners Act, 1946 and other relevant provisions of the IPC should be taken against them, police sources told The Hindu on Wednesday.

 

About 1,000 foreign nationals from various countries came to India on a tourist visa and took part in the Tablighi Jamaat conference in the Markaz Mosque, Nizamuddin, Delhi in early March. After the religious congregation, the foreign missionaries visited different States and camped there to preach the religious values of Islam. Many of these delegates along with scores of Indian nationals who attended the conference were linked to the spread of coronavirus across the country, the sources said.

111 held in T.N.

In Tamil Nadu alone, at least 125 foreign nationals, from countries like Indonesia, Bangladesh and Thailand were reportedly camping in mosques to preach. At least 111 of them have been arrested and remanded in judicial custody in an isolated Borstal School. Of the 11 Bangladeshis, two tested positive to COVID-19 after their arrest and prison officials moved the whole group to a quarantine facility.

 

Security agencies and immigration authorities zeroed in on the foreign delegates of Tablighi Jamaat based on their travel documents. The MHA directed the States to take legal action against all the foreigners and Indian nationals for the offences committed under various provisions of law. The Home Secretary called for a detailed report on the action taken from the States, police sources said.

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“Even if bail is granted, the foreigners will not be allowed to be deported. They have to face trial by staying in a special camp where their movement will be restricted. Participation in religious congregation and indulging in preaching while on a tourist visa is clearly an offence punishable under the Foreigners Act,” a senior police official said.

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