COVID donation not for ‘jihadis’: Assam foreigners’ tribunal members in letter

Letter by 12 members of foreigners' tribunal urges govt to exempt COVID-19 patients of Tablighi Jamaat from the help; withdrawn after public outrage over religious intolerance

tribunal, Assam, letter, foreigners, Tablighi Jamaat
The Kerala government had sought MEAs approval for signing an MoU with the UAE Red Crescent Authority - an NGO -- for a project. Representational Photo: PTI

A group 12 members of Assam’s Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs) while making a donation of ₹60,000 for COVID-19 relief work, have urged the state government to exempt violators, ‘Jihadis’ and ‘jahils’ (ignorant) who attended the Tablighi Jamaat meeting in Delhi from benefiting from the help.

The letter addressed to state health and finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was signed by Kamalesh Kumar, member of a foreigners’ tribunal in Baksa district.

“Our only prayer is that the help may not be extended to the members of violators Tablighi Jamaat, Jihadi and Jahil. Kindly accept our donations as above for saving the humanity from the clutches of COVID-19 pandemic infection,” a portion of the letter read.

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While the Assam government has not confirmed receiving the letter, one of the signatories told Indian Express that they withdrew the letter after discussing among themselves. The contents of the letter came to the fore when it started circulating on social media soon after a local daily published an article on it.

Indian Express says when contacted, Sarma, said although he had written the letter, he has not sent it to the government. He, also refused to comment on its contents.

While foreigners’ tribunals are entrusted with determining whether a person is an illegal foreigner or not under the Foreigners Act, 1946, many have questioned how tribunal members with such religious bias will be expected to deliver a just verdict.

The Indian Express report said Pompa Chakravary, one of the 12 signatories had named Mohammad Sanaullah, who worked in the Indian Army for 30 years as a subedar, a ‘foreigner’ last year. Sanaullah who was granted bail after being detained for some time, has appealed against the order.

Related news: Cases surge in Northeast after Tablighi Jamaat emerges as cluster

Another member whose name has been listed in the letter told Indian Express that Gupta hadn’t shared the letter with them before making it public and that the contents do not reflect his views.

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