Despite Bail by HC, 129 Foreign Tablighi Members Stuck in TN Jail

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Among 129 foreign Tablighi Jamaat members 53 are from Indonesia, 17 from Malaysia, 14 from Bangladesh, 14 from Thailand, 13 from Myanmar, eight from Ethiopia, five from France, three from Cameroon and one each from Congo and Belgium. — Representational image

Tamil Nadu Muslim bodies, others cry foul, tell state govt to free them immediately

Syed Ali Mujtaba | Clarion India

CHENNAI – The Federation of Tamil Nadu Muslim organisations and political parties made an appeal to the state government to release 129 foreign Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) members lodged in Puzhal Central Prison complex here.

The Tamil Nadu government has designated the juvenile prison within Puzhal jail for the detention of 129 foreign TJ members for purportedly violating visa regulations. Of them, 53 are from Indonesia, 17 from Malaysia, 14 from Bangladesh, 14 from Thailand, 13 from Myanmar, eight from Ethiopia, five from France, three from Cameroon and one each from Congo and Belgium.

Addressing an online press conference, the Islamic Federation asked the Tamil Nadu government to drop all cases against the foreign TJ members and set them free from the illegal detention and send them to their respective countries.

The online press conference was addressed by the Islamic Federation’s President and Jamathul Ulama Council President, Moulana P A Haja Moinudeen Hazrath, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi President M H Jawahirullah, SDPI President Nellai Mubarak, Coordinators M Manzoor Khasifi, Alhaj M Basheer Ahmed and others.

There were 129 foreign TJ members, including 12 women, belonging to nine different countries who were arrested by Tamil Nadu Police from different places in the state following the discovery of coronavirus linkage with TJ members and Nizamuddin Markaz world conference in New Delhi.

The Madras High Court and its subordinate courts granted bail to 98 TJ members arrested in 12 cases. Similarly, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court granted bail to 31 foreign TJ members.

All these foreign TJ members who were earlier put up at Saidapet sub jail but after being given bail, were shifted to the juvenile prison within the Puzhal Central jail complex. They included 31 foreign TJ members arrested from the southern districts of Tamil Nadu whose bail plea was heard by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court.

While granting bail to the 31 on June 12 the Madurai Bench of Madras High court stated that it was not fair to detain them in the Special Camp within Puzhal Prison complex and the government should consider keeping them in any other good place.

The court further said, “These people have served maximum sentences for violation of visa rules and there is no proof that these people have spread Coronavirus. In such a situation, if the petitioners execute appropriate affidavits expressing their regret for having violated the visa conditions, proceedings against them shall be concluded by filing final reports recording the same.”

After the judgment of the Madurai Bench of Madras High court, the Islamic Federation held the online press conference where it said, “It is contempt of the judgment given by the Madurai Bench of Madras High court to illegally keep 31 foreign TJ members in Puzhal prison, whose cases have been closed and have been acquitted and absolved of all cases against them.”

“Further, those 98 people, including eight women who have got bail from the court, are still in detention after more than 60 days of their illegal arrest. Their cases are yet to be disposed of.”

The Islamic Federation made an appeal to the state government to drop all pending cases against the remaining 98 foreign nationals and stop their illegal detention in Puzhal prison complex and house them in some better place.

A member of Islamic Federation and President Manithaneya Makkal Katchi, M H Jawahirullah pointed out that the central government has given clear guidelines about these special camps as to how they should function.

First, such a detention centers should not be located within the prison complex which is not in this case. Second, the food for the detainees should be prepared in a separate kitchen but in this case, foreign TJ members are served food meant for the prisoners of Puzhal Jail. Third, the guidelines say the detention place should have proper ventilation for air and sunlight but that’s not there in this detention center, M H Jawahirullah said.

He added, “The juvenile prison within Puzhal jail has a capacity to accommodate only 30 to 40 persons. But 129 TJ members are cramped there in inhuman conditions at a time when Coronavirus infection is on peak. This is a clear violation of social distancing norms.”

The MMK leader demanded that Tamil Nadu government should house these foreign TJ members in a ‘near human’ conditions and suggested keeping them at Jamia Qasmiya Arabic College in Washermanpet locality, till they are sent to their respective countries.

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Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist is based in Chennai. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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