12 fresh charge sheets expected against 536 more foreign Jamaatis

New Delhi (IANS) The Delhi Police is all set to file 12 fresh charge sheets against the foreigners in the Tablighi Jamaat case, the police said on Thursday.

"The fresh charge sheets will be filed against 536 foreign nationals belonging to three different countries," it said, adding that the fresh documents are in addition to the 35 charge sheets already filed by them naming 374 foreigners.

The accused persons are being charged under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Epidemic Diseases Act, the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and also for violating the prohibitory orders under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

The said persons are also being charged for violation of the visa rules and as a result of the same, the central government has cancelled their visa and blacklisted them, the police said.

The case pertains to a congregation at Banglewali Masjid in Delhi's Hazrat Nizamuddin on March 13, in which a large number of foreign nationals had participated.

"These foreign nationals had entered India on tourist visas and participated in the Markaz illegally. In addition to violating the provisions of visas, these foreign nationals also led to a situation where a highly infectious disease such as Covid-19 infection spread and threatened the lives of the inmates and the general public at large," the Crime Branch told a Delhi court on Tuesday.

Moreover, on the same day, the Crime Branch told the Delhi High Court that the Tablighi Jamaat "deliberately, willfully, negligently and malignantly" disobeyed the orders of the government with regard to the lockdown and the social distancing norms amid the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The police informed the court that the authorities of the Markaz at the Tablighi Jamaat headquarters in Delhi's Nizamuddin area were contacted by the Delhi Police. One Mufti Shahzad was apprised of the situation arising out of the spread of Covid-19 and was asked to take immediate action for preventing the spread of the disease.

He was directed to send the foreigner devotees back to their respective countries and other Indian persons to their respective native places. "However, no one paid any heed to the lawful directions of the Delhi Police," the investigating agency told the court.

"They deliberately, willfully, negligently and malignantly disobeyed the lawful directions promulgated in this regard. Written notices were also issued to Maulana Saad and the Markaz management. However, they refused to pay any heed," the police said in their report.

The Delhi Police also told the court that an audio has been found where Tablighi Jamaat head Maulana Saad was "heard asking his followers to defy the lockdown and social distancing measures and to attend the religious gathering of the Markaz".

The FIR in this regard was registered on March 31. The case pertains to a congregation at the Banglewali Masjid in Delhi's Hazrat Nizamuddin area in mid-March, in which a large number of foreign nationals had participated.

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