A Delhi court has ordered the trial of the 36 foreigners for attending Tablighi Jamaat congregation by being negligent and disobeying the government guidelines issued in wake of COVID-19 pandemic. The Saket District Court accepted the charge sheet of the Delhi Police and agreed that the allegations against them are correct. The trial of these foreign nationals will take place under sections of the National Disaster Management Act.
Advocating on behalf of the Tablighi deposits, senior advocate Rebecca John called them innocent and demanded the charge sheet be dismissed. At the same time, lawyer Atul Srivastava, on behalf of the Delhi Police, while arguing, appealed for permission to start the case against them.
After hearing both the sides, the court admitted that those 36 foreign deposits deliberately disobeyed the orders of the government and violated many laws of the country.
A Delhi court on August 24 had framed charges against the 36 foreigners from 14 countries. While framing charges to start a trial against 36 foreigners, the court said the statements of the witnesses, especially the health officials prima facie, showed that there was no social distancing being followed.
“It has been further been mentioned in the charge sheet that around 1300 devotees from various states and foreign countries were found residing at the Markaz premises without maintaining any social distancing or using a face mask, hand sanitizers etc, even though there was the invocation of an order under Section 144 (power to issue an order in urgent cases of the nuisance of apprehended danger) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPc) in that area whereby, a curfew had been imposed and of the nationwide lockdown commencing from March 25,” the court had said in its order.
Foreigners coming for the spread of any religion have to apply for a visa in the ‘Missionary’ category by giving reasons for their arrival. But in India, visas are not easily available in this category and so foreign missionaries, including Christian missionaries, enter the country as tourists.
This time too, on the invitation of Nizamuddin Markaz, hundreds of tourists from nearly three dozen countries reached India on a visa. Incidentally, at the same time, due to coronavirus infection, the Delhi government banned any social activity and announced the immediate evacuation of all public premises.
But hundreds stayed in Nizamuddin Markaz and did not leave the premises. Another group violated the government’s rules and went for campaigning in other parts of the country. After this, the police and Delhi administration carried out an operation of evacuating the premises and testing the Jamaatis, of whom many were infected.
After this, a case was registered. In this case, most of the domestic Jamaatis have got bail. At the same time, the Saket court has ordered the trial of the 36 foreign Jamaatis caught in the case.