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Tablighis violated tourist visa norms: Kishan Reddy

G. Kishan Reddy. File.   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal.

Days after a Delhi court acquitted 36 foreign Tablighi Jamaat members who were accused by the police of violating COVID-19 guidelines, Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy said the Tablighis violated tourist visa norms.

At a press conference, he said that though the Tablighis were welcome to visit India under prescribed tourist visa norms, they violated the visa conditions by participating in religious functions here.

“The Centre took action against them as they attempted to hide Coronavirus, travelled to other parts of the country for religious teachings, leading to its [COVID-19] spread,” he said.

On March 29, as many 2,361 persons of the Tablighi Jamaat were evacuated by the police from Jamaat’s Nizamuddin headquarters. One case relating to the gathering was registered under various sections and 233 persons of the Tablighi Jamaat were arrested.

Earlier, the Home Ministry had blacklisted 2,594 foreigners who participated in a Tablighi Jamaat event in March at Nizamuddin markaz (centre) barring their entry into India for 10 years.

Note to States

On March 28, the Ministry wrote to all the States that around 2,000 Tablighis from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand and other countries who entered India on tourist visa appeared to be “potential carriers” of COVID-19.

Founded by a Deobandi Isamic scholar at Mewat, Uttar Pradesh, in 1926, the Tablighi Jamaat (society of preachers) focusses on ‘purifying’ the Muslim faith. It has presence in 150 countries.

On Tuesday, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Arun Kumar Garg acquitted the 36 foreign nationals from 14 countries who were charged under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), Section 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Section 3 (disobeying regulation) of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 and Section 51 (obstruction) of Disaster Management Act, 2005.

The country was first placed under a strict lockdown on March 24. It was extended subsequently till June. From June, phase-wise opening of various sectors were allowed. More than 99 lakh COVID-19 cases have been reported in the country so far with sero surveys on presence of COVID-19 antibodies in randomised population, indicating that the number of infected people could be much higher. After the first known case of COVID-19 detected in the country on January 30, more than 1.4 lakhs deaths have been reported so far.

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Printable version | Mar 9, 2021 2:25:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tablighis-violated-tourist-visa-norms-kishan-reddy/article33356455.ece

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