82 foreigners chargesheeted for attending Tablig Jamaat in Delhi
NEW DELHI: The Delhi Police on Tuesday filed charge sheets against 82 foreigners for attending a religious congregation or Tablig Jamaat at Nizamuddin Markaz here in violation of alleged visa conditions and indulging in missionary activities amidst the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, officials said, reports PTI.
Police have filed 20 charge sheets against the foreigners belonging to 20 countries, they said.
A large congregation organised in March by the Tablig Jamaat in the Nizamuddin area of the national capital had emerged as a major hotspot of coronavirus.
Some of the participants, who were later tested positive for coronavirus, had travelled to their home states and other areas.
More than 25,500 Tablig members and their contacts have been quarantined in the country after the Centre and the state governments conducted a "mega operation" to identify them.
"They not only violated government guidelines issued in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic and regulations regarding the Epidemic Diseases Act, but also flouted the Disaster Management Act and subsequently the prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure," the police said.
An FIR was registered against Tablig Jamaat leader Maulana Saad Kandhalvi and six others on March 31 at the Crime Branch Police Station on a complaint of the Station House Officer of Nizamuddin under sections of the Epidemic Diseases Act, Disaster Management Act, 2005, Foreigners Act and other relevant sections of Indian Penal Code.
Kandhalvi was later booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder after some of the attendees of the religious congregation died due to coronavirus, police said.
The case is being investigated by the Crime Branch which pertains to the religious gathering at the Markaz which congregated at Banglewali Masjid in Hazrat Nizamuddin, on March 13 and beyond.
According to the police, the foreign nationals entered India on tourist visa and participated in the gathering at Markaz "illegally".
Besides, violating the provisions of visa, these foreign nationals also led to a situation where a highly infectious disease spread and threatened the lives of the inmates and the general public at large, they said.
The police also said that more than 900 foreign nationals who are accused in the case belong to 34 different countries and charge sheets are being prepared country-wise, under sections of the Foreigners Act, Epidemic Diseases Act, Disaster Management Act and section 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 270 (Malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 271 (Disobedience to quarantine rule) of the Indian Penal Code.