Who wouldn’t remember Tablighi Jamaat
members who were squarely blamed for
the spread of coronavirus in Delhi and
other parts of the country? In last March the
Delhi police had charged that a religious
congregation held at its headquarters in New Delhi’s Nizamuddin area as being solely responsible for the increase in positive cases in the country.
In a strongly-worded judgment, the Bombay High Court on Friday quashed the FIRs filed against a total of 29 foreign nationals who were booked under various provisions of IPC, Epidemic Diseases Act, Maharashtra Police Act, Disaster Management Act and Foreigner’s Act for violating their Tourist Visa conditions by attending the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Nizamuddin, Delhi
saying they had been made “scapegoat”, and that the action against them was an “indirect warning to Indian Muslims” after the protests against CAA
Apart from the foreign nationals, police also booked six Indian nationals and trustees of the Masjids for giving shelter to the petitioners.
A Division Bench of Justice TV Nalawade and Justice MG Sewlikar of the Aurangabad bench heard the three separate petitions filed by petitioners who belong to countries like Ivory Coast, Ghana, Tanzania, Djibouti, Benin and Indonesia. All the petitioners were booked after police claimed to have received secret information about them residing at the respective masjids in different areas and offering prayers in violation of lockdown orders.
Asking the authorities concerned to “repent” and “repair the damage done by such action”, the Bench said, “The government cannot give different treatment to citizens of different religions of different countries.
Bombay High Court’s order is significant for its view on Tableegi Jamaat which, It said, was “a movement for reformation”. Even more damaging was the statement that the arrests were made following specific instructions from the centre and the centre’s action was mainly directed against Muslims. Social and religious tolerance is a necessity for the country’s integrity, the court said.
Justice TV Nalawade and MG Selwikar seem to be among the very few authorities who are still not in awe of the present regime and act on their conscience
The headquarters was sealed and hundreds of participants including those from countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and some other places qurantined and arrested. Even
Maulana Saad, the Jamaat chief, was booked for culpable homicide. A vicious Anti Muslim propoganga was launched on various social media platforms.
In a crackdown, all those who were part of the congregation were traced and arrested. Those from aboard found their visas revoked.
In June the Allahabad High Court ordered the release of the Jamaat members on the completion of quarantine period.
Madras High Court allowed bail to 31 foreign Jammatis and the Madhya Pradesh HC granted bail to six foreigners.
These orders were limited to the release of proselytizers. Bombay High court’s Aurangabad Bench has gone beyond to dwell upon the role of center, freedom which foreigners can enjoy under various Articles of the constitution.
Coronavirus had slipped into India through the back door, without check and without proper screening and quarantining people, who came to India from January 2020 onwards, and also close to Namaste Trump event, before and after Trump’s visit, as pointed out by a veteran Shiv Sena leader, attended by a huge gathering, not all from locals.
But the blame is put on someone else (Tablighi Jamat), to eclipse the lacuna, divert the attention of public, and bury the fact on the ground, and common poor people are blamed for not adhering to safety measure and not staying at home, after robbing them of their jobs and livelihood.
When the media (the via media between government and people and mirror of both) is silent, tight-lipped, deaf, dumb, blind and partisan, not having the wisdom and the spirit of duty, not endearing the ethics of journalism and reportage, not performing it’s duty, but looking the other way, not spreading the Truth, but something else, then, the death of the soul of this great country and of democracy is sure and certain.
Will the bhakts now troll the judges? Abdulhafiz Lakhani ([email protected])