Police file 12 more chargesheets in Nizamuddin religious event case

Delhi Police on Friday filed 12 more chargesheets against 46 foreign nationals from 12 different countries for attending an event at the Tablighi Jamaat centre in Nizamuddin by violating visa conditions, indulging in missionary activities illegally, and flouting government guidelines issued in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

With these, the police have filed 59 chargesheets till date against 956 foreign nationals belonging to 36 different countries. The Centre has cancelled their visas and blacklisted them. The foreign nationals have not been arrested yet and are residing at various places approved by the High Court.

The Delhi Police Crime Branch on Friday filed one main chargesheet and 11 supplementary chargesheets before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate. Twenty-seven people from Indonesia have been named in the document; four from Myanmar; three from Sri Lanka; two each from Sudan, Bangladesh and Thailand; and one each from Ethiopia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Kazakhstan and France.

The punishment for various offences under penal provisions ranges from six months to eight years of imprisonment.

All the foreign nationals have been booked for violating visa rules, flouting government guidelines under the Epidemic Diseases Act, Disaster Management Act; and violating prohibitory orders under Section 144 of Code of Criminal Procedure.

They have also been booked for offences under Sections 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), and 270 (Malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 271 (Disobedience to quarantine rule) of the Indian Penal Code, and sections of the Foreigners Act.

On May 25, the police had filed 20 chargesheets against 82 foreigners from 20 countries; on May 26, 15 chargesheets against 294 foreigners from 14 countries; and On May 27, 12 chargesheets were filed against 541 foreigners.

At least 9,000 people, including the foreign nationals, participated in a religious congregation in Nizamuddin. Later, many of the attendees travelled to various parts of the country.

According to the police, the foreign nationals had entered India on tourist visas and then participated in the gathering illegally.

Besides violating the provisions of the visa, the religious event led to spreading of the infectious COVID-19, and threatened the lives of the general public, they said.

The police added that chargesheets are being prepared country-wise under sections of Foreigners Act, the Epidemic Diseases Act, Disaster Management Act and relevant sections of IPC.

An FIR was lodged against Tablighi Jamaat leader Maulana Saad Kandhalvi and six others on March 31 based on a complaint by the Station House Officer of Nizamuddin under sections of the Epidemic Diseases Act, Disaster Management Act (2005), Foreigners Act; and other relevant sections of the IPC.

Mr. Kandhalvi was later booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder after some of the attendees of the religious congregation died due to COVID-19, the police said.

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