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Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Blacklisting of Tablighi foreigners: Over a third came from Indonesia

Bangladesh and Indonesia make up almost 50 per cent of all blacklisted foreign nationals linked to the gathering, followed by those from Malaysia and Kyrgyzstan, sources said.

Written by Deeptiman Tiwary | New Delhi | Updated: April 4, 2020 9:10:31 am
On Friday, the MHA announced that it would blacklist 360 more foreign nationals who attended the gathering in Delhi and returned to their countries before the lockdown was put in place. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

OF THE 960 foreign nationals blacklisted Thursday by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for violating visa norms to attend the Tablighi Jamaat gathering in Delhi last month, more than a third are from Indonesia and over 10 per cent from Bangladesh, The Indian Express has learnt.

The two countries make up almost 50 per cent of all blacklisted foreign nationals linked to the gathering, followed by those from Malaysia and Kyrgyzstan, sources said.

The gathering has been linked to over 400 coronavirus cases reported from at least nine states. Six of the blacklisted foreign nationals are among nine from China, where the outbreak was first reported in December.

On Friday, the MHA announced that it would blacklist 360 more foreign nationals who attended the gathering in Delhi and returned to their countries before the lockdown was put in place.

In all these cases, sources said, the foreign nationals were found to have arrived on tourist visas and later engaged in proselytising activities for which visas are issued under the “missionary” category.

Read | 93 new cases, 2 deaths, CM Kejriwal says local transmission under control

According to MHA sources, 379 Indonesians attended the Nizamuddin gathering. Incidentally, the connection between the Markaz and a COVID-19 surge was first discovered on March 17 when an Indonesian, who had travelled to Telangana after attending the gathering, tested positive.

According to the MHA, the next big group to be blacklisted are from Bangladesh (110), followed by Kyrgyztan (77), Malaysia (75), Thailand (65) and Myanmar (63).

MHA sources said those blacklisted are from 45 countries across Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas and Australia. In Asia, the others blacklisted are from Sri Lanka (33), Iran (24), Vietnam (12), Philippines (10) and Kazakhstan (14) and China (9). From Europe, the UK (9) heads the list followed by France (3). And from the African countries, they include Tanzania (8), Algeria (7) and South Africa (4). Four US nationals, and three from Trinidad and Tobago, were blacklisted.

From the first week of March, over 8,000 Tablighi Jamaat activists had gathered at the Alami Markaz in Nizamuddin for a religious event, including about 2,000 foreigners. Following the event, sources said, over 800 went to various parts of the country for proselytising activities.

According to MHA, as of March 21, over 1,000 Tablighi workers from abroad were in various parts of India on March 21, including 216 at the Markaz. At least 125 went to Tamil Nadu followed by UP (132), Haryana (115), Maharashtra (115) and Telangana (82).

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?

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