Courts in UP, Tamil Nadu, MP Order Release of Foreign Tablighis; Delhi High Court Issues Notices to the Centre, Delhi Police & Delhi State Govt On Foreign Tablighis Stranded In National Capital
Mumtaz Alam | India Tomorrow
NEW DELHI, JUNE 17— While the courts in Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and some other states have ordered release of foreign Tablighi Jamaat members as they found the allegations against them under the Foreigners Act as baseless and directed the respective state governments to allow them to return to their countries, Delhi High Court has issued notices to the Centre, state Government of Delhi and the Delhi police seeking setting up of a designated court for speedy trial in a case in which 121 Tablighis from Malaysia were chargesheeted for attending a Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Hazrat Nizamuddin in violation of visa rules and flouting the Covid-19 guidelines. The HC has asked them to respond to the notices on July 1, the next date of hearing in the case.
At the moment, there are 125 Malaysian Tablighis in the care and custody of the Malaysian embassy which is spending lot of money on their accommodation and food. While chargesheets have been filed in case of 121 Malaysians, it is pending in case of 4 others.
The HC issued notices on a petition filed by a Malaysian national Fahrul Naim Bion Mohammad Noor.
As many as 11 Saudi Arabian nationals, who were also chargesheeted in the same case, have also moved the Delhi High Court seeking expeditious trial of their cases by holding day to day hearing.
Meanwhile, a local court in the Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh has ordered release of 57 foreign Tablighi Jamaat members as it found all allegations against them under the Foreigners Act as baseless.
Among the 57 foreigners, 19 are from Indonesia, 21 from Kirghizstan, 5 from Sudan, 4 from Thailand, 2 from Malaysia and one each from Spain, Syria, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, France and Male, said Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind (Arshad Madani group) which has been fighting legal cases to secure release of around 1700 foreign Tablighi members who were arrested in different states after the March 30 Nizamuddin Markaz fiasco.
Earlier this week, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has also ordered release of 31 foreign members of Tablighi Jamaat who have been in Tamil Nadu jails for the past 70 days – 11 of them are from Bangladesh and 20 from Indonesia.
The High Court bench of Justice G.R. Swaminathan has also asked the state government to close visa rules violation cases against them, saying they have “suffered enough” and the current Coronavirus situation calls for “empathy and understanding”.
Welcoming the Saharanpur court order, Jamiat president Maulana Arshad Madani vowed to continue the legal fight for other foreign Tablighi people incarcerated in various parts of the country.
According to Jamiat, the Uttar Pradesh police had lodged FIR against the foreign Tablighi members under various sections of the Epidemic Act and Foreigners Act. They were presented in court and sent to jail.
While directing their release, the court did not impose any fine on them and said that they have already spent more than one month in jail and so there is no need for any more punishment or fine.
Welcoming the orders of all courts in the country including Saharanpur, Maulana Arshad Madani said: “This is a welcome step and now the path will be cleared for the release of other foreign Tablighi members languishing in jails in UP and other parts of the country and Jamiat is committed to its promise to continue its legal struggle for their release.”
He also said that like Tablighi members, people belonging to other faiths also come to India on tourist visa and take part in religious activities.
“These foreign Tablighi members had come on valid visa and this is not a new trend but after the Independence, people have been coming this way. Though on tourist visa, they come to learn Islam preaching and move around the country for that purpose. People belonging to other faiths also come on tourist visa and take part in all religious activities whether it is Banaras ghats or temples or yogshala. Therefore, to take hard stance against Tablighi Jamaat people does not look fair,” said the Maulana.
“We respect the attitude of the Saharanpur court in Tablighi case and hope that other courts in the country would also consider them as guests of the country and show leniency. We are hopeful of Allah that these people would soon return to their native countries,” he said.
Besides the Saharanpur court and Madras High Court, some other courts have also ordered release of foreign Tablighi members in recent days.
Giving details about this, Jamiat’s press secretary Fazlur Rahman Qasmi said that a court in Shiv Vihar of Madhya Pradesh released 6 foreign Tablighi members on bail and 12 were released by Shamil court in Uttar Pradesh. A court in Jam Khed of Ahmed Nagar district (Maharashtra) released 10 foreign Tablighi people, including 4 from Tanzania, 4 from Ivory Coast and 2 from Iran.
Earlier this month, Uttarakhand court had released 21 foreign Tablighi members who have returned to their home countries with the support of Jamiat, said Qasmi in a press release.
In UP, some 216 foreign Tablighi people were lodged in jails. Many of them have been released.
Besides 57 from Saharanpur jail, 28 belonging to Nepal have been released from Baghpat jail.
After release from the Baghpat district jail, 28 Tablighi people from Nepal were dispatched to their country after their stay at Nijat Farmhouse. Under the leadership of SP leader Haji Shakil Shah and eminent social activist Haji Nijat Khan, they were dispatched to Nepal in a bus.
After the Nizamuddin Markaz incident of March 30 this year in Delhi, couple of thousands of foreign nationals belonging to Tablighi Jamaat were rounded up in various states – most of them in Delhi – and sent to quarantine centres or jails for allegedly violating tourist visa rules.
A section of media had unleashed hateful campaign against the Tablighi Jamaat in particular and the Muslim community in general and blamed them for the spread of Coronavirus, leading to various incidents of mob violence against members of the minority community.
Maulana Arshad Madani blamed the media for the detention of Tablighi people. “The propaganda of communal media made Tablighi Jamaat people responsible for the spread of Coronavirus and this landed them in trouble. Some 1640 foreign Tablighi members were in jail, out of which 955 alone were in Delhi.”