About 2,300 foreigners who came to India to attend a congregation organized by the Islamic group Tablighi Jamaat in March have been blacklisted for 10 years. The event in the Nizamuddin area of Delhi, which broke the borders at large gatherings, had become a major hot spot for coronaviruses in India.
Interior ministry officials said on Thursday that foreign members of the group had violated visa requirements and would not be allowed into the country for another 10 years. They include around 900 foreigners who were blacklisted in April.
The action was taken by the Interior Ministry after various state governments provided details of foreigners who were living illegally in mosques and religious seminars across the country.
Investigators had previously accused group leader Maulana Saad Kandhalvi of culpable homicide for his role in a big jump in COVID-19 infections in the country. He was also involved in a money laundering case.
The religious congregation was held in mid-March at Nizamuddin Markaz, the headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat, in a cramped corner of New Delhi.
Thousands, including foreigners from countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh, gathered at the mosque complex, and many stayed in a six-story dormitory on campus.
As members returned home across the country, more than 15,000 cases of the Delhi-related coronavirus were reported, leaving states struggling to locate them. Some foreigners have also been arrested while trying to leave the country.
Tablighi Jamaat is one of the largest Sunni Muslim proselytizing organizations in the world with followers in more than 80 countries, promoting a pure form of Islam.
The group said that many supporters who had visited its offices in a narrow, winding lane in Delhi’s historic Nizamuddin district were blocked after the government declared the three-week closure, and the center was to offer them shelter.
However, the Delhi government has said that the congregation has violated its rules that were introduced a few days before the national lockdown and has prohibited large rallies to stop the spread of COVID-19.
(With agency contributions)