Days after a local court in Bahraich district granted them bail, 17 international Tablighi Jamaat members were released from jail, the police said on Thursday. The 17 had been in prison since April for participating in the Jamaat’s congregation in Delhi the month before. It was one of the first Covid-19 hotspots detected in India, and was linked to hundreds of cases across the country.
The foreigners were arrested on April 11, along with four Indians, after completing 14 days in quarantine. They were booked under the Foreigners Act for violating visa norms, and other IPC sections. The Indian members of the Islamic movement received bail the same month.
Of the 17 foreigner nationals, 10 are from Indonesia, and seven from Thailand. Responding to the court’s decision, Bahraich Superintendent of Police (SP) Vipin Kumar Mishra said, “The 17 were released on bail on Wednesday after they got it from CJM [Chief Judicial Magistrate] court.
They are currently staying in mosques in the district and will only be able to return after the trial reaches a conclusion. We have their passports.”
The lawyer representing the 17, Yogesh Kalia, said, “The bail was ordered on June 26. The court has laid down some special provisions for them like they will have to go to the concerned police station every 15 days and mark their presence. They will also have to notify district administration if they change their living place within the district. They can’t leave the district too.”
According to police officials, it came to light during preliminary investigation that all 21 had come to Bahraich for a religious event after attending the Delhi congregation. The 17 foreign nationals were carrying documents, and had entered India on tourist visas.
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