Govt Identifies US, French, Italians among 1300 Tablighi Foreign Activists, 960 Foreigners Blacklisted
NEW DELHI, APRIL 3—Thousands of Tablighi Jamaat activists including 1, 300 foreigners from the US, France and Italy, who took part at a congregation in Delhi's Hazrat Nizamuddin, have been identified in different parts of the country and most of them have been put in quarantine, government officials said on Thursday.
Besides, under the direction of Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, the government has blacklisted 960 foreigners present in the country on tourist visas for their involvement in Tablighi Jamaat activities.
The Home Ministry has also directed DGPs of all states concerned and UTs and Commissioner of Police, Delhi, to take necessary legal action against all such violators on priority, under relevant sections of the Foreigners Act 1946 and Disaster Management Act, 2005, an official statement said.
This has been done after the Tablighi Jamaat's Markaz in Nizamuddin West is reported to have emerged as a hotspot of coronavirus, following which the Markaz has been sealed and an FIR lodged against its management.
Government agencies also claimed that they had found around 9000 Indian Tablighi Jamaat activists and their contacts in about 20 states and union territories and all of them are in the process of being put in quarantine centres.
Two hundred fifty foreign Tablighi Jamaat activists were identified in Delhi, the highest among all states and Union Territories, an official estimate said.
Majority of these foreigners were found at the Nizamuddin Markaz. Due to lockdown some of them were also living in a few mosques in the national capital.
The foreigners, who were found in Delhi include two American nationals, one each from France, Belgium, Italy and Tunisia, 172 Indonesians, 36 Kyrgyzstan nationals, 21 Bangladeshis, 12 Malaysians, seven Algerians, and two from Afghanistan, the official said.
A total of 247 foreigners, who attended the congregation at Markaz, were identified in Uttar Pradesh, followed by 154 in Maharashtra and 133 in Tamil Nadu. As many as 96 foreigners were identified in Telangana, 86 in Haryana, 70 in West Bengal, 59 in Madhya Pradesh, 38 in Jharkhand, 24 in Andhra Pradesh, 12 in Uttrakhand, seven in Odisha and five in Rajasthan.
The agencies have also found that 24 foreign Tablighi Jamaat activists were living in Karnataka and three others in Punjab but all of these 27 foreigners left India before the lockdown came into force, the official said.
The official said that so far, a total of 245 Covid-19 cases and about 12 deaths in the country were found to have links with the Nizamuddin Markaz.
Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba has already told states and Union Territories to take action against foreigners who have participated in the missionary activities of the Tablighi Jamaat for violation of visa conditions.
Most of these foreigners came to India on tourist visa. The rule prohibits their involvement in any religious activities.
The government has also decided not to issue tourist visa to any foreigner who wishes to visit India and take part in Tablighi activities, the official said.
The Home Ministry on Tuesday said about 2,100 foreigners have come to India since January 1 and indulged in Tablighi activities in different parts of the country.
Apart from this, the Union Ministry of Tourism launched the ‘Stranded in India’ portal on March 31, 2020 for international tourists. In first two days, the portal has received more than 500 queries for help. The Tourism Ministry is working in coordination with External Affairs Ministry to address the queries. It has also been coordinating with respective embassies regarding problems faced by the foreigners.
(The article has been written by Syed Ali Ahmed)