India accuses detained Muslims of lockdown violations
More than 2,500 foreign Muslims from 35 countries travelled to India to attend a mid-March gathering held with government permission at the Tablighi Jamaat headquarters in Delhi in mid-March. A day later the government issued a notice limiting events in Delhi to 50 people and a week later grounded all international flights grounded and, with just four hours’ notice, ordered a strict nationwide lockdown. More than 1,000 visitors were stranded in Tablighi Jamaat’s headquarters. However, numerous others travelled back to towns and villages across India who turned out to9 be infected with the coronavirus, and, Tablighi Jamaat’s leaders were arrested and accused of manslaughter and culpable homicide. On March 31, police rounded up 950 foreigners and placed in quarantine, where they were locked in three to a small room with only partial access to water and no soap or toilet paper; police also seized their passports and mobile phones, later returning the latter but with SIM cards and user data missing. After two negative tests, detainees’ conditions were relaxed somewhat, but police retained their passports. At their next court date on June 25, Delhi police accused the detainees of disobeying quarantine and lockdown regulations and said there was sufficient evidence to prosecute them under section 14(b) Foreigners Act, 1946 in combination with the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897, the Disaster Management Act 2005, and section sof the Indian Penal Code.
Writer: Hannah Ellis-Petersen; Web India 123
Publication: Guardian; Web India 123
Publication date: 2020-06-17; 2020-06-27