The Delhi Police, in a status report filed in the Delhi High Court, submitted that Maulana Saad and the Markaz management were verbally informed about the hazard posed by Covid-19 on several occasions, yet “they deliberately, willfully, negligently and malignantly disobeyed the lawful directions promulgated in this regard”.
The status report was sent by DCP (Crime HQ) Joy Tirkey, who informed the HC that no one has been arrested or detained in this case. Over 900 Tablighi Jamaat attendees have joined the probe and passports of 723 foreign nationals and 23 Nepalese nationals have been taken into possession by police, the court was told.
Citing that on April 2, the MHA blacklisted 960 foreigners present in India on tourist visas for their involvement in Tablighi Jamaat activities, the Delhi Police submitted: “That participation in Tablighi Jamaat by these foreign nationals who had entered India on tourist visa was in violation of the provisions of the Visa Manual 2019 and as such the act made them liable to be prosecuted under section 14 of The Foreigners Act, 1946.”
The status report claimed that on March 21, Markaz authorities were contacted by Delhi Police. The police said one Mufti Shahzad was apprised about Covid-19 and was asked to send foreigners back to their respective countries and Indians to their native places. “However, no one paid any heed to the lawful directions of Delhi Police. Moreover, an audio recording purportedly by Maulana Mohd Saad, head of the Tablighi Jamaat, was found in circulation on WhatsApp on 21.03.2020, in which the speaker was heard asking his followers to defy the lockdown and social distancing and to attend the religious gathering of the Markaz,” the report read.
Police told the court that in view of the lockdown on March 24, prohibitory orders were issued by ACP Lajpat Nagar restricting social/political/religious gathering in the area. A meeting by an SHO took place on March 24 attended by Maulana Saad and the Markaz management, it said.
“However, Maulana Mohd Saad and the Markaz Management did not inform any Health Department or other Government Agency about the huge gathering inside the Markaz. They deliberately, willfully, negligently and malignantly disobeyed lawful directions promulgated in this regard. Written notices were also issued to Maulana Mohd Saad and Markaz Management. However, they refused to pay any heed,” the report read.
The report stated around 1,300 devotees from various states and foreign countries were found in the premises “without maintaining any social distance”.
“No one was seen following the directions such as use of facial mask, hand sanitisers, etc. Maulana Mohd Saad, others named above and the management of Markaz had deliberately, willfully, negligently and malignantly committed acts which were in direct contravention to lawful directions of the government and public servants,” the report stated.
The report stated that Saad and others had “allowed a huge gathering to assemble inside a closed premises, over a protracted period of time, without any semblance of social distancing or provision of masks and sanitisers, and thereby caused a situation where a highly infectious disease… may spread and threaten the lives of inmates and general public at large”.
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