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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Did those accused of housing Tablighis do so before or after after Covid notifications, HC asks Delhi Police

A total of 12 FIRs in which 48 people are accused are under challenge before the High Court.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: August 5, 2021 7:22:06 am
TablighiThe Jamaat is amorphous — anyone can associate with it for as long as they wish (Express File Photo)

The Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi Police to inform it whether the Indian nationals, who allegedly housed foreign attendees of the 2020 Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Markaz Nizamuddin, provided them accommodation in homes or mosques before or after issuance of the notifications imposing Covid-related restrictions in the national capital in March last year.

Seeking a detailed status report in the cases challenging filing of FIRs against those who are accused of allowing foreign nationals to live together in their houses after attending the religious conference, Justice Mukta Gupta asked the police to indicate the role of each accused and apprise it when the foreign nationals were housed in mosques or homes of the accused in Old Delhi.

“So as to find out whether the accused gave housing facility after the notification was issued or prior thereto,” said the court, while listing the case for hearing on November 12.

A total of 12 FIRs in which 48 people are accused are under challenge before the High Court.

Delhi Police in a status report filed earlier this year had told the court that cases were registered against those Indian nationals, who last year allowed foreigners to live together in their houses after they had attended the religious conference having a “huge gathering”.

While referring to the foreigners, police had said they had violated the directions issued by Delhi government and the police in connection with the pandemic. “On 11.03.2020 WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic & Government of India and Government of NCT of Delhi had also issued Notification that all religious places of any denomination shall be closed and any congregation is strictly prohibited,” the reply read.

The reply had been filed in response to petitions filed  by accused Rizwan and Feroze Siddiqui through advocate Ashima Mandla. They have argued that the only allegations against them is of accommodating foreign nationals inside their houses when the country was locked down. “However, there is no whisper of either any religious/social gathering being held inside the house of the petitioner or the petitioner herein being Covid- 19 positive,” the petitioners have argued.

Rizwan and Siddiqui are seeking quashing of the FIRs registered under IPC sections 188, 269, 270 and 120-B against them. Police have accused them of providing accomodation to four foreign nationals each, who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat event at Markaz Nizamuddin. The chargesheets have been submitted in the FIRs.

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