Updated: December 15, 2020 8:32:46 PM
A Delhi court on Tuesday acquitted all 36 foreign nationals before trial for allegedly violating Covid-19 related guidelines while attending the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi’s Nizamuddin region.
The Jamaat was news in March after the Nizamuddin Markaz emerged as a hotspot. As many as 955 foreigners have been charged by Delhi Police with alleged violations of visa requirements, indulgence in missionary activities and failure to follow the government’s Covid guidelines.
A Delhi court acquitted all 36 foreign nationals who were tried for allegedly violating Covid-19 related guidelines while attending the Tabligi Jamaat event in Nizamuddin. @IndianExpress
– Anand Mohan (@mohanreports) December 15, 2020
As reported by The Indian Express earlier, while a majority of foreign members of Tablighi Jamaat took plea agreements and left for their countries, 44 decided to hold a trial in Delhi. Of them, the court has previously dismissed eight members, declaring that there is “no prima facie evidence” against them.
The court also dismissed the remaining 36 under section 14 of the Aliens and CPI Sections 270 and 271. However, they still faced charges under the Epidemic Act, Disaster Management Act and other CPI sections.
During the dismissal of the eight nationals, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Gurmohina Kaur observed, “All the indictment and documents added to it neither show his presence or participation at the Markaz during the period in question. Also no document records that suggests he was one of the participants involved in Tablighi’s work as well as the allegations: neither the copy of the register seized and registered, nor the list of SDM giving details of persons sent by the Markaz or to hospitals or quarantine centers, or the list of persons who was part of the Markaz and was tried on Covid., specifically mentions the name of the present defendant, even to show his first facial involvement or presence, as claimed in the indictment, at the Markaz.Even for this court to proceed further, there must be some prima facie evidence against the defendant, which is not the case … “
Delhi Police opposed the defendants ’discharge request, claiming that there is“ sufficient prima facie evidence ”in the indictment and documents to proceed against them. Police sent a circular on interior ministries to state that the accused arrived in India with a tourist visa, but “participated in Tablighi’s work” in violation of the visa manual.
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