Foreign attendees of Tablighi occasion made scapegoat, says HC

Mumbai, August 22

The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court has mentioned the international nationals, who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat occasion held in Delhi in March this yr, have been made “scapegoats” and allegations have been levelled that they have been chargeable for spreading COVID-19 within the nation.

A division bench of Justices T V Nalawade and M G Sewlikar made the observations on August 21 whereas quashing the FIRs filed in opposition to 29 foreigners, who had attended the occasion.

The bench additionally famous that whereas the Maharashtra police acted mechanically within the case, the state authorities acted below “political compulsion”.

The 29 international nationals have been booked below numerous provisions of the IPC, the Epidemic Diseases Act, Disaster Management Act and Foreigner’s Act for allegedly violating their vacationer visa circumstances by attending the Tablighi Jamaat congregation held at Nizamuddin within the nationwide capital.

The bench in its order famous that there was a giant propaganda in opposition to the foreigners who had come to the Markaz in Delhi.

“A political government tries to find the scapegoat when there is pandemic or calamity and the circumstances show that there is probability that these foreigners were chosen to make them a scapegoat,” the court docket mentioned in its order.

“The propaganda against the so-called religious activity (Tablighi Jamaat) was unwarranted. The activity was going on for more than 50 years and it is there throughout the year,” it added.

It mentioned the circumstances and the newest figures of an infection of COVID-19 in India present that such motion in opposition to the petitioners shouldn’t have been taken.

“It is now high time for the concerned to repent about this action taken against the foreigners and to take some positive steps to repair the damage done by such action,” the court docket mentioned.

In its order, the bench famous that many Muslims from the world over come to India and go to the Markaz Masjid in Delhi as they’re drawn to the reform motion of Tablighi Jamat.

“It is a continuous process and it appears that there are arrangements of stay also made by the Muslims at Markaz Delhi,” it mentioned.

The bench added that the visits of those foreigners to Masjids in India weren’t prohibited and there may be nothing on report to point out that this exercise is prohibited completely by the federal government.

“The activity of Tablighi Jamat got stalled only after the declaration of lockdown in Delhi and till then it was going on,” the court docket mentioned.

The bench additional questioned as as to if the folks in India are actually appearing as per its nice custom and tradition of welcoming friends.

“During the state of affairs created by COVID-19 pandemic, we have to present extra tolerance and have to be extra delicate in direction of our friends, notably like the current petitioners.

“Instead of helping them, we lodged them in jails by making allegations that they were responsible for violation of travel documents and that they are responsible for spreading the coronavirus,” the court docket mentioned.

The bench famous that the Maharashtra police acted mechanically within the current matter and the state authorities acted below “political compulsion”.

“The government cannot give different treatment to citizens of different religions of different countries,” the court docket mentioned.

Apart from the international nationals, police additionally booked six Indian nationals and trustees of the Masjids for giving shelter to the petitioners.

The bench was listening to three separate petitions filed by the accused international nationals, who belong to the international locations like Ghana, Tanzania, Benin and Indonesia.

At the tip of the judgement, Justice Sewlikar mentioned whereas he agrees with the quashing a part of the order, he has differing views on a couple of observations made by Justice Nalawade. However, he didn’t specify which observations.

The petitioners claimed that they got here to India on legitimate visa in February 2020 and earlier than March 10, 2020 to expertise Indian tradition, custom, hospitality and Indian meals.

They claimed that after they arrived in India, they have been screened and have been let to go away the airport solely after they didn’t present any signs of COVID-19.

The petitioners additional claimed that they have been visiting a number of locations in India to watch the spiritual practices of Muslims.

They claimed that on account of lockdown imposed throughout the nation in March, the petitioners, who have been in Ahmednagar district on the time, have been accommodated in masjids as most lodges and inns have been closed.

They additional claimed that whereas granting visa, there was no prohibition to go to spiritual locations, like masjids.

The police, whereas opposing the pleas, mentioned that post- lockdown, bulletins have been made at public locations, asking individuals who had attended the Tablighi occasion to come back ahead voluntarily for testing, however the petitioners didn’t accomplish that and created a risk of spreading the coronavirus.

The prosecution additional argued that the accused individuals have been propagating Islam faith amongst public.

The court docket, nonetheless, refused to simply accept this and mentioned there may be nothing on report to point out that the foreigners (accused individuals) have been spreading Islam faith by changing individuals of different religions to Islam.

The bench additional held that no orders have been issued by any authority stopping Indians from accommodating individuals in masjids or supplying meals to individuals, together with foreigners. — PTI

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