Centre to blacklist 800 Indonesian Tablighi Jamaat preachers for violating visa rules during coronavirus lockdown

The Union Home Ministry has decided to blacklist around 800 preachers from Indonesia for violating the visa rules. 

Centre to blacklist 800 Indonesian Tablighi Jamaat preachers for violating visa rules during coronavirus lockdown

NEW DELHI: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has decided to backlist nearly 800 Indonesian members of Islamic outfit Tablighi Jamaat, which is under scanner for recently organising a religious congregation in Nizamuddin area of south Delhi and spreading coronavirus in the country.

According to reports, the Union Home Ministry has decided to blacklist these preachers from Indonesia for violating the visa rules during lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic. These Indonesian preachers came to India on a tourist visa and participated in a three-day religious conference organised by Tablighi Jamaat in south Delhi this month.

They had participated in a three-day religious conference which was also attended by many people from across the country who later tested positive for COVID-19.

According to reports, around 8,000 people from across the country attended a gathering earlier this month at the Alami Markaz Banglewali Masjid, the headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat in Nizamuddin area of south Delhi.

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India and Indonesia have a liberal visa arrangement and allow tourist visa on arrival for the citizens. The preachers then moved in batches to Telangana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and conducted group meetings in mosques and held several meetings.

Meanwhile, the religious group`s international headquarters, called Nizamuddin Markaz in the middle of Nizamuddin colony in southwest Delhi, from where it originally started has been evacuated. Around 1,400 persons were stuck there in the wake of a nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The outfit has centres in over 200 countries. On Saturday and Sunday, around 200 persons from the complex were admitted in various hospitals in Delhi as a precautionary measure. Out of these 200, six of those admitted in Lok Nayak Jaiprakash hospital had returned a coronavirus positive report.

Asked about the coronavirus positive cases, group spokesperson Dr Mohammed Shoib Ali had then claimed that the hospital concerned had not given them any such report.

Tablighi group maintained that the congregation of so many persons in the complex was reported before the nationwide lockdown on March 24 midnight. They had merely followed instructions to people to stay put wherever they were.