Release Tablighis, Provide Compensation for Their Persecution, Demands Jamiat After Bombay HC Verdict

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The Maulana said it was high time the concerned people repented about the action taken against the foreigners and took some positive steps to repair the damage done by such action

 NEW DELHI – Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JUH), a leading organisation of Islamic scholars, has hailed the Bombay High Court’s verdict on Tablighi Jamaat calling it a lesson for governments which disregard national interests and indulge in communal politics.

JUH General Secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani said on Saturday the verdict was a clear mirror in which Central and state governments could see their stained faces, adding that the verdict had defeated the nefarious designs of the communal forces and brought victory for the justice-seekers.

The court had on Friday quashed all the cases against 29 foreign nationals who were booked under various provisions of IPC, the Epidemic Diseases Act, the Maharashtra Police Act, the Disaster Management Act and the Foreigner’s Act for allegedly violating their tourist visa conditions by attending the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Nizamuddin in Delhi.

“In the light of the court verdict, it is now high time the concerned people repented about the action taken against the foreigners and took some positive steps to repair the damage done by such action,” said Maualana Mahmood Madani.

He demanded that the Central and state governments withdraw all cases registered against the Tablighi Jamaat in all parts of the country and release those who had been arrested.

This verdict has a very important lesson, especially for the Uttar Pradesh Government which has treated the Tablighi foreigners very badly. Even now, many are languishing in Allahabad’s Naini Jail.  Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind also demanded that they be released forthwith and provided proper compensation for their mental and religious persecution.

The court, while referring to the old Indian saying, Atithi Devo Bhava (Our Guest Is Our God), sought to know from the government whether it was really acting as per India’s great tradition and culture.

“During the situation created by the covid-19 pandemic, we need to show more tolerance and we need to be more sensitive towards our guests, particularly like the present petitioners. The allegations made show that instead of helping them, we lodged them in jails by making allegations that they are responsible for violation of travel documents, they are responsible for spreading of virus, etc.,” observed the judges.

“The aforesaid material produced on the record shows that even under the recently-updated Manual of Visa, there is no restriction on foreigners for visiting religious places and attending normal religious activities like attending religious discourses. It cannot be inferred that the foreigners were spreading Islam religion by converting persons of other religion to Islam,” read the judgement.

The court too criticised media’s portrayal of foreign nationals who attended the Tablighi Jamaat event and said, “There was big propaganda in print media and electronic media against the foreigners who had come to Markaz Delhi and an attempt was made to create a picture that these foreigners were responsible for spreading covid-19 virus in India. There was virtually persecution against these foreigners.”

Importantly, the court referred to anti-CAA and anti-NRC protests all over the country and said, “There were protests by taking processions, holding sit-ins at many places in India from around January. Most of the persons participating in the protest were Muslims. It is their contention that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019 is discriminatory against the Muslims. They believe that Indian citizenship will not be granted to Muslim refugees and migrants. They were protesting against National Registration of Citizenship (NRC).

“It can be said that due to the present action taken, fear was created in the minds of those Muslims. This action indirectly gave warning to Indian Muslims that action in any form and for anything can be taken against Muslims. It was indicated that even for keeping contact with Muslims of other countries, action will be taken against them. Thus, there is smell of malice to the action taken against these foreigners and Muslim for their alleged activities. The circumstances like malice are an important consideration when relief is claimed from the quashing of FIRs and the case itself.”

The court concluded that the state government acted under political compulsion and action against the foreign nationals could be inferred as malice. Thus, all petitions were allowed and FIRs were quashed.

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