Updated: December 15, 2020 8:32:46 PM
A Delhi court acquitted all 36 foreign nationals on trial for violating Covid-19 guidelines by attending the Tablighi Jamaat event in the Nizamuddin area of Delhi.
Jamaat was in the news in March after Nizamuddin Markaz emerged as an access point. As many as 955 foreigners were reported by Delhi police for alleged violations of visa requirements, indulged in missionary activities and did not follow Covid government guidelines.
A Delhi court acquitted all 36 foreign nationals who were on trial for violating the Covid-19 guidelines by attending the Tabliz Jamaat event in Nizamuddin. @IndianExpress
– Anand Mohan (@mohanreports) December 15, 2020
As reported earlier by The Indian Express, while most of the foreign members of Tablighi Jamaat made plea agreements and left for their countries, 44 decided to be tried in Delhi. Of these, the court previously released eight members, saying there was “no prima facie evidence” against them.
The Court also discharged the remaining 36 under Section 14 of the Aliens Act and Articles 270 and 271 of the CPI. However, they still faced charges under the Law on Outbreaks, the Law on Disaster Management and other sections of the CPI.
While releasing the eight nationals, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Gurmohina Kaur noted: “The entire indictment sheet and the documents attached to it do not show his presence or participation in Markaz during the relevant period. Also, there is no recorded document to suggest that he was one of the participants involved in Tablighi’s work, as are the allegations. Neither the retained and registered copy of the register, nor the list of SDMs that provide details about the persons who were sent from Markaz to either hospitals or quarantine centers, nor the list of persons who were part of Markaz and were tested for Covid, specifically mentions the name of the current accused, so as to show even his involvement or prima facie presence, as claimed in the indictment, at Markaz. Even for this court to proceed, there must be some prima facie evidence against the accused, which is not the case … ”
Delhi police have opposed the defendants’ request for discharge, arguing that there is “sufficient prima facie evidence” in the indictment and documents to prosecute them. Police sent a circular from the Ministry of Internal Affairs to specify that the accused arrived in India with a tourist visa, but “was involved in Tablighi’s work”, violating the visa manual.
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