The Union Home Ministry (MHA) on Thursday day told the Supreme Court that 2765 foreign Tablighis who violated the Visa norms will be put on trial and not immediately deported. The Ministry also said that as many as 1906 foreign nationals are still absconding and a Look Out Circular is issued against them. In an affidavit filed before the Apex Court, the Home Ministry said visas of 2,679 have been canceled, 2,765 blacklisted, 205 FIRs lodged, and 1905 lookout notices issued against those absconding. MHA said the Tablighis from more than 35 countries will be put on trial for serious violation of Foreigners Act, NDMA Act, Epidemic Diseases Act, apart from the charges of Visa violation norms. These Tablighis were caught for violating the Covid-19 Lockdown norms in March last week. Many of them are placed in separate quarantine.
“It was decided not to deport them after quarantine ended as appropriate punitive action required to be taken,” MHA’s affidavit filed through Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said before the Bench of Justice A M Khanwilkar. The court is hearing petitions filed by a large number of foreign Tablighi members challenging government orders blacklisting around 2,500 of them from 35 countries and not allowing them to go back to their respective countries.
47 foreign Tablighi Jamaat foreigners are Nepal nationals, who are not holding any Visa, said MHA, adding that 227 foreign Tablighis left India before the issuance of Look Out Circular/ Black Listing against them.
At present 205 First Information Report (FIR)s have been registered in 11 States. 2765 are blacklisted. Besides, 1906 Look Out Circulars (LOCs) have been issued against the absconding foreign Tablighi Jamaat members, said Home Ministry.
Tablighi petitioners sought a direction to MHA and MEA to remove the blacklisting and reinstate their visas and facilitate their return to their countries. Four petitions have been filed by 34 individuals, including a Thai national who is seven months pregnant, challenging the Centre’s orders on April 2 and June 4. During the hearing, the SC bench had given Centre a free hand in deciding whether to send these foreigners back to their countries. Bench prima facie agreed with the Solicitor General’s view that those against whom a criminal case existed cannot be sent back as they need to be put on trial.
In a detailed affidavit of 81 pages, Home Ministry said that out of the total reported 2765 cases of foreign Tablighi Jamaat members, Visas of 2679 (including 9 OCI cardholders) have been already canceled. 47 foreign Tablighi Jamaat foreigners are Nepal nationals, who are not holding any Visa, said MHA, adding that 227 foreign Tablighis left India before the issuance of Look Out Circular/ Black Listing against them.
PGurus earlier reported the posh lifestyle of Tablighi Chief Maulana Saad, who preaches for simple living. He has not yet joined the investigation and is replying to Police through his Advocates. The blacklisted Tablighis are also from the US, UK, France, Australia, Russia, China, Sri Lanka, Kyrgyzstan, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, the Philippines, Qatar, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Sweden, Tanzania, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Ukraine. This is perhaps the first time that the government has blacklisted such a large number of people in one stroke and banned their entry into India for such a long duration under the Foreigners Act.