An FIR filed by the SHO of Nizamuddin police station has named seven people associated with the management committee of the Alami Markaz Banglewali Masjid, headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat outfit, for allegedly going ahead with a gathering of around 2,000 people at the mosque in Nizamuddin West despite warnings from agencies. The event has been linked to a spike in COVID-19 cases across the country.
The Delhi Police Crime Branch Wednesday also issued notices to agencies which had “informed the (mosque’s) management about enforcement of Section 144 in the city” at the time of the gathering.
Special Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Praveer Ranjan told The Indian Express that they have registered an FIR naming seven people, including maulana Saad Kandhalvi.
“We have found an audio clip going viral on social media, and are now sending it to forensic experts. We are gathering evidence to substantiate that they went ahead with the event despite warnings by several agencies,” he said.
In the purported clip, a man can be heard saying “there is no need for social distancing as it is not written about in our religion”.
Apart from Kandhalvi, others names mentioned in the FIR are management committee members. “Police are also checking their bank accounts,” said an officer.
In his complaint, SHO Mukesh Walia alleged, “We told them several times and also called them to our police station, where we again informed them about the directions. They were advised to vacate the Markaz headquarters, but they did nothing.”
Advocate Shahid Ali, who represents the Tablighi Jamaat, said, “We have not received a copy of the FIR, nor have we been approached by the Delhi Police. Maulana saab is not absconding, he is at home. We are ready to join the investigation. We approached the SHO of Hazrat Nizamuddin police station for a copy of the FIR and were told to ask the Crime Branch. We have no idea about its contents.”
On Tuesday, DCP (Southeast) R P Meena had said: “There are essentially two buildings — one is a mosque and the other a markaz (centre) — with five-six floors. Around 1,500-2,000 people live here. The last time a jamaat was held here was on March 20-21. Since the lockdown was implemented, we have sent two notices to them about enforcement of Section 144.”
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