The Union Home Ministry on Thursday blacklisted and cancelled the tourist visas of 960 foreign Tablighi Jamaat members for violating visa conditions by engaging in missionary activities while in India.
It has also asked the states and union territories where these foreign Tablighi Jamaatis are present, to take necessary legal action against them, for violating the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 which might involve their deportation after payment of a $500 penalty, and the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
Home minister Amit Shah stated: “960 foreigners have been blacklisted and their Indian visas have also been cancelled after they were found involved in Tablighi activities on tourist visas”.
He also added: “Ministry of Home Affairs has also directed the state DGPs and Delhi Police Commissioner to take necessary legal action against 960 foreigners for violating the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Disaster Management Act, 2005.”
गृह मंत्रालय द्वारा तब्लीगी जमात, निजामुद्दीन के मामले में दिल्ली पुलिस और अन्य सम्बंधित राज्यों के पुलिस महानिदेशकों को विदेशी अधिनियम,1946 एवं आपदा प्रबंधन अधिनियम,2005 के प्रावधानों का उल्लंघन करने के लिए 960 विदेशियों के विरुद्ध आवश्यक कानूनी कार्यवाई करने के निर्देश दिए हैं।— गृहमंत्री कार्यालय, HMO India (@HMOIndia) April 2, 2020
The blacklisting order will prohibit them from entering India for at least two years. Sources said that these 960 foreign Tablighi Jamaat members could be deported as and when they complete the quarantine or the hospitalisation period and international flights resume.
In case international flights are not available at the end of the quarantine period, they may be shifted to detention centres.
Meanwhile, Section 51(b) of the Disaster Management Act provides for imprisonment of up to one year or fine for violation of an order issued by the due authority, which can further extend to two years jail if such violation results in loss of lives.
Reports said that the Tablighi Jamaat authorities will henceforth be told to strictly maintain a register of all foreign visitors along with their passport and visa details as well as activities undertaken by them.
Earlier in the day, the passports of 211 foreign nationals, out of 287, who had attended the religious congregation organised by Tablighi Jamaat at Nizamuddin Markaz between March 13 and March 15 have been seized by the Uttar Pradesh government. These foreigners have been hiding in different mosques in the State of Uttar Pradesh. A total of 34 First Information Reports (FIRs) have been registered against them.
Charges have also been pressed against 450 people under Epidemic Diseases Act in Meerut and the adjoining areas. A total of 2,058 members of Tablighi Jamaat have been apprehended from Bijnor, Saharanpur, Shamli, Muzzaffarnagar, Baghpat, and Bulandshahr.
On March 31, the Home Ministry had announced that 800 Indonesian Islamic preachers, who attended the event, maybe blacklisted for flouting the visa rules.
A whopping 60 per cent (295 persons) out of the new 485 confirmed positive cases of Wuhan Coronavirus detected within a single day on Thursday had attended the Nizamuddin Markaz organised by the Tablighi Jamaat. The event was held between March 13 and March 15 and saw a footfall of around 3400 members.
The massive jump of cases in India is solely due to the Tablighi Jamaat members who had gathered in the Nizamuddin mosque despite government orders against mass-gatherings. The Jamaat members taking buses and trains to their respective localities all over India has resulted in a massive nation-wide spread within a span of few days. As per government reports, over 9000 Tablighi Jamaat attendees and their primary contacts have so far been quarantined.