Following up on its word that it will take action against foreigners who violated the lockdown-period visa rule of not participating in religious functions, the union government today cancelled the visas of 960 foreigners who not only visited the Tablighi Jamaat event at the Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi early in March but also posed a grave risk to the country by spreading out to different states, with those infected carrying the virus to hitherto unaffected people. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has placed these foreigners on a travel blacklist.
The MHA has further directed Delhi Police and the directors-general of police of other states to take legal action against these foreign nationals under the Foreigners Act 1946 and the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
The MHA had said in the past that most of them have come to India on tourist visas. This visa does not permit the holder to participate in any religious event. A different visa is issued for participation in religious activities in the country visited (India).
Nizamuddin Markaz, located in South Delhi, became a hub of spreading coronavirus in different parts of India. So far, about 9,000 people associated with the Tablighi Jamaat have been identified and quarantined while 400 of these people have been found to be coronavirus-positive.
A source in the MHA said that while the foreigners enjoy some diplomatic immunity, they can certainly be deported back to the countries they had come from.
Joint secretary of the Ministry of Health Lav Agarwal shared the data of the states with the press at a conference today.
Presenting the data of coronavirus infection among the associates of the Tablighi Jamaat, Agarwal said that 173 from Tamil Nadu, 11 from Rajasthan, 9 from Andaman and Nicobar, 47 from Delhi, 33 from Telangana, 67 from Andhra Pradesh, 16 from Assam, 22 from Jammu and Kashmir and two from Puducherry were infected.
An estimated 3,000-8,000 Muslims attended the event of Tablighi Jamaat was attended by in Nizamuddin Markaz between 1 and 15 March.
Six people who took part in the Tablighi Jamaat in Nizamuddin West died subsequently in Telangana, while one in Gujarat and one in Jammu and Kashmir perished too.
The coronavirus outbreak in the country is assuming serious proportions due to the reckless — and perhaps deliberate and mischievous — activities of the Tablighi Jamaat and other Muslims who refuse to observe social distancing too. The figure of coronavirus infections in the country has reached near 2000 while the death toll has increased to 50.
This day recorded the highest increase in the number if COVID cases in a day, 328, the joint secretary at the health ministry said at a press conference held in New Delhi on Thursday (2 April). According to the latest data from the ministry, 151 people have recovered from this virus infection.
Meanwhile, reports of quarantined Muslims spitting on doctors and attacking policemen at the isolation centres are pouring in from all the nine places where the Tablighi Jamaat associates have been kept separated from society.