India is likely to blacklist at least 281 foreigners who came from 16 countries on tourist visas but attended an Islamic congregation at Nizamuddin in New Delhi that has become a key source for the spread of COVID-19 in the country, officials said on Tuesday (March 31).
These foreigners had reportedly flouted visa norms by entering the country with a tourist visa and attending a congregation, instead of getting a mandatory missionary visa to do the same.
They had allegedly hidden the reason behind their travel since visa checks under the missionary category were reportedly more stringent.
“Those who came on tourist visas but attended the Nizamuddin event stands being in our blacklist as they have violated the visa conditions. Tourist visa holders can’t attend religious functions,” a Union Home ministry official said.
If a foreigner’s name is added in the Home ministry’s blacklist, he or she cannot travel to India in future.
These foreigners include 72 people from Indonesia, 71 from Thailand, 34 from Sri Lanka, 33 from Myanmar, 28 from Kyrgyzstan, 20 people from Malaysia, 19 from Nepal, 19 from Bangladesh, four from Fiji, three from England, one from Singapore, Afghanistan, Algeria, Djibouti, France and Kuwait each.
Based on this preliminary information, authorities are now trying to find out other places they may have travelled to for contract tracing.
After the Nizamuddin event, many foreigners went to different parts of the country and participated in various events at local mosques, according to information provided to authorities.
However, many of the individuals concerned have not disclosed full details about themselves, and some even tried to get treated at private hospitals instead of going to government hospitals for COVID-19 treatment.
They were among the 8,000 people who attended the Nizamuddin event in March, a Union home ministry official said.
Around 30 of those who attended the Tabligh-e-Jamaat at Nizamuddin Markaz in mid-March tested positive and at least three have succumbed to the infection in last few days. More than 390 people have been admitted to hospitals.
(With inputs from agencies)