Haryana Court Acquits 57 Foreign Tablighi Jamaat Activists, Embassies Concerned To Make Arrangements For Return To Their Home Countries
Syed Ali Ahmed | India Tomorrow
NEW DELHI, MAY 27—With the acquittal of 57 Tablighi Jamaat activists of foreign countries by Nuh district court in Haryana, embassies concerned are doing arrangements for their air travel to their respective countries. At present, they are in a quarantine centre at Nuh.
There were a total of 59 Tablighis against whom the Haryana Police had filed the charge-sheet. Of them, one each were from Lucknow and Nepal. Besides, 24 activists were from Sri lanka, 11 from Bangladesh, 5 from South Africa, 11 from Indonesia and 6 Thailand.
They were in India to attend a Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Markaz Nizamuddin and later, they fanned for Tablighi mission in March this year in various districts in the state. They were stranded after lockdown from March 24 and were arrested by the Haryana Police from Mewat region.
They were booked under sections 269, 270, 188, 120B of the Indian Penal Code or IPC and 14B, C of the Foreigner Act and Epidemic Diseases Act after being caught from a building at Tauru Road on April 2. They were caught allegedly for not following social distancing order of the authorities concerned.
The police told the court that these foreign members of the Tablighi Jamaat were found in a building on April 2 at Tauru Road, flouting social distancing norms that were a part of a district magistrate order on March 21.
While announcing the judgment, Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate ordered the state government to ensure their safe return to their home countries.
However, with intervention of Union Home Ministry, embassies concerned are doing arrangement for the safe return of the Tablighis to their respective home countries, sources said.
Congress MLA from Nuh, Aftab Ahmad said, “Tablighi Jamaat activists of foreign countries are at present staying at a quarantine centre in Nuh. With the help of the state and central governments, we are trying to get completed the legal formalities to send them back to their respective countries.”
In its order, the ACJM further said that the accused persons admitted that they were foreign nationals and were not aware of the orders passed by the district magistrate of Nuh. In view of the Covid-19 pandemic and considering the allegations made against the accused, the ACJM ordered each of the accused persons to pay a fine of Rs 1000 separately for commission of the offence under Section 188 of IPC.
The order further says that if the accused fail to pay the fine amount, he will further undergo imprisonment of one week. But MLA Aftab Ahmed said that he arranged the payment of fine on behalf of the accused.
Talking to India Tomorrow, counsel for the accused Shaukat Ali said that “the court rejected all other charges except under Section 188 of IPC which is disobedience to order issued by a civil servant for maintaining social distancing”.
He said since the prosecution could not prove that the travel documents or visa of foreign Tablighi Jamaat activists were illegal, the court rejected the charges under Foreigners Act. Also, the court was convinced that there was no ill intention on the part of foreign Tablighis to spread the disease.