Coronavirus | 18 Malaysian nationals stopped from flying back

10 detained at the Chennai airport, eight in Delhi.

Updated - June 19, 2020 06:26 pm IST

Published - April 05, 2020 03:23 pm IST - NEW DELHI/CHENNAI

Firefighters spray disinfectants at a locality near the Nizamuddin Markaz, the Tablighi Jamaat headquarters in south Delhi.

Firefighters spray disinfectants at a locality near the Nizamuddin Markaz, the Tablighi Jamaat headquarters in south Delhi.

Eight Malaysian nationals have been sent to quarantine after they were stopped from boarding a special flight to Malaysia at Delhi airport, an Immigration official said on Sunday.

It was found that they figured in a list of foreign nationals who attended the religious congregation at the Tablighi Jamaat centre in Nizamuddin. Their credentials are being verified with the Malaysian embassy.

Also read: Coronavirus outbreak | MHA blacklists 960 foreigners for Tablighi ties

The official said the eight wanted to board a special flight to Malaysia, when they were stopped by Immigration personnel.

A Delhi police official confirmed that the eight Malaysian nationals had been handed over to them by the Immigration department. Later, they were sent for medical examination.

Also read: Explained | Who are the Tablighi Jamaat?

“All Malaysian nationals have been shifted to a quarantine centre after their samples were taken by the Health department”, a senior police officer said.

Handed over to crime branch

In another development, Immigration authorities at the Chennai International Airport on Sunday detained 10 Malaysian nationals who had arrived in the country on a tourist visa and attended a conference conducted by the Tablighi Jamaat in New Delhi. They were handed over to the Central Crime Branch (CCB) and later placed under quarantine in Poonamallee.

Police sources claimed the foreign nationals were involved in the Jamaat’s activities in Tenkasi district from March 14 to 26 after returning from Delhi. They were intercepted by the immigration officers when they tried to fly out of the country on a special flight that had been arranged for stranded Malaysians.

According to the police, the 10 Malaysian nationals had stayed at Nizamuddin in Delhi till March 11, after attending the conference. They arrived in Chennai on March 12 by train and went to Tenkasi the following day.

“Between March 14 and 26, they visited different mosques in Tenkasi, Courtallam and Vallam in connection with the Jamaat’s activities, along with two locals — Moulana Hamid and Moulana Moideen,” a police officer said. On Sunday, they reached the Chennai airport along with 127 other Malaysian nationals from different parts of the State.

They were supposed to fly back to their country on a Malindo Air flight, arranged by the Malaysian government to help its citizens stranded abroad. However, when the 10 individuals in question reached the immigration counter, the officials found that they had attended the Delhi conference, and hence, stopped them from flying out of the country.

The authorities then informed the Central Crime Branch of the city police. “They had violated the visa rules, and even during the COVID-19 lockdown, they were going around Tenkasi district for religious activities,” a senior police officer said.

The CCB team, wearing Personal Protective Equipment, picked them up.

“We have registered cases under provisions of the National Disaster Management Act, Section 14 of the Foreigners Act, Sections 188, 269 and 271 of the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act,” an officer said. The 10 persons will be produced before a court in Alandur and taken to the Government Stanley Hospital to undergo tests for COVID-19.

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