All 36 foreigners who were being prosecuted for attending the Tablighi Jamaat Markaz event in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area, allegedly in violation of COVID-19 guidelines, were acquitted by a Delhi court on Tuesday (December 15).
The Tablighi Jamaat congregation in March had reportedly become an epicentre for “spread of the coronavirus in the country” as hundreds of the attendees had tested positive for the infection then. This included foreigners as well.
A total of 955 foreigners were chargesheeted by the Delhi police for allegedly violating visa conditions, indulging in missionary activities and not following the government’s COVID guidelines. Most of them took plea deals and left for their countries, but 44 of them decided to stay back and face trial in court. Eight of them were released by the court earlier, stating that there was “no prima facie evidence” against them.
The court had also discharged the rest of the 36 under section 14 of the Foreigners Act and IPC sections 270 and 271. However, they were still facing charges under the Epidemic Act, Disaster Management Act and other IPC sections.
The Delhi police had then opposed the discharge application of the accused, arguing in the court that there was “sufficient prima facie evidence” in the chargesheet and documents to proceed against them.