Tablighi Jama'at members were made scapegoats and media created false propaganda - Bombay High Court

Tablighi Jama'at members were made scapegoats and media created false propaganda - Bombay High Court

"A political government tries to find the scapegoat when there is a pandemic or calamity and circumstances show that there is a probability that these foreigners were chosen as scapegoats" - Mumbai High Court
Tablighi Jama'at members were made scapegoats and media created false propaganda - Bombay High Court
The bench questioned as to whether the people of India are really acting as per the tradition of the countrty to welcome all guests - Atithi Devo Bhavah...

Aurangabad division bench of Bombay High Court, comprising of Justice TV Nalwade and Justice MG Sewlikar quashed the FIRs against 29 foreign nationals who attended the Tablighi Jama'at event in Nizamuddin, New Delhi during the early months of the COVID spread.

The bench in its order on 21 August, quashed the FIRs and made an observation that the foreign nationals who had attended the event in March at Delhi, were made scapegoats and false allegations were levelled against them that they were responsible for the spread of COVID19 in India.

Muslims from across the world come to India and visit the Markaz at Nizamuddin in New Delhi as they are attraced to the Tablighi movement. The arrangements are also done by members of the markaz, the bench noted in its order.

Tablighi Jama'at activity has been going on for more than 50 years and it is held throughout the year. Hence the propaganda against the so-called religious activity waas unwarranted and politically motivated. There was a big propaganda against the foreigners attending the meet at the markaz (center) located at Nizamuddin in New Delhi.

Foreign nationals were put under institutional quarantine for months, even after being tested negative repeatedly. Their passports were seized and they and their families were put in jail, or quasi quarantine or institutional quarantine. Police were directed nationwide to take legal action against such foreigners on allegations that they flouted visa norms. No such evidence was found by the court. It was also announced that they would be blacklisted from entering India for the next 10 years.

The order further said that the circumstances and latest figures of COVID infection go on to suggest that the action taken against the foreigners at that time was uncalled for. Those concerned need to repent for this action and take positive steps to repair the damage.

Bombay High Court further said that materials discussed shows no such nuisance was created by the foreign nationals or Indians and the false propaganda was done to create an atmosphere against them.

While the Maharashtra police acted mechanically, the state government was coaxed into taking action under political compulsion. Apart from the forein nationals, FIRs were also served against 6 Indian nationals and trustees of the masjid for giving shelter to the petitioners.

The bench refused to accept the claims of the prosecution that the petitioners were attemting to propagate Islam among the public ,saying that there is no proof to show that they were forcibly converting persons belonging to other religions, to Islam.

It further held that the foreigners were here for a particular duration with legal documentation and were permitted to visit the places they visited and stay in places they wished to stay during their stay in India. There was no order issued by any authority preventing Indians from accomodating persons in Masjids or supplying meals to anyone, including foreigners.

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