New Delhi: The Maharashtra authorities is inspecting a proposal by its prosecution division to appeal a scathing order by the Bombay High Court lambasting the state police for appearing “mechanically” and appearing beneath “political compulsion” in implicating foreigners who attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Nizamuddin in Delhi.
Among a number of points, the judgment raises critical questions on the “malice” behind the motion taken towards the foreigners. People with direct data of the matter advised ET that the prosecution division proposed to appeal towards the judgment within the Supreme Court.
Besides the Maharashtra authorities, the judgment delivered on August 21 additionally places a highlight on the “directions” issued by the Central authorities that prompted the Maharashtra Police to lodge FIRs.
“It can be said that initially there was no intention of police to go against the foreigners, but subsequently, after getting directions from central government, which are mentioned already, Maharashtra police gave FIRs and filed cases in those crimes”, reads the order.
It provides “…the government cannot give different treatment to citizens of different religions of different countries”.
The court docket recorded that the foreigners had not come to attend “some function” organized by Tablighi Jamaat at Markaz however that it was a “continuous activity.”
Underscoring the “background of malice” towards the foreigners the High Court mentioned “The record of this matter and the submissions made show that action of central government was taken mainly against Muslim persons who had come to Markaz Delhi for Tablighi Jamaat. Similar action was not taken against other foreigners belonging to other religions.”
Referring to the participation of numerous Muslims in nationwide protests towards the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 the court docket mentioned “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 Muslims for their alleged activities”.
The court docket noticed that “Muslim persons who had given shelter to the foreigners are made accused probably with some purpose. This action must have created pressure on Indian Muslims. The persons of this community may avoid to keep contact with Muslims of other country now due to such actions.”
The order reads “activity of Tablighi Jamaat got stalled only after declaration of lockdown in Delhi and till then it was going on. There is nothing on the record to show that this activity is prohibited permanently by the government. There is nothing on record to show that Indians were prevented from accommodating persons in the Masjid or from supplying meals to the persons including the foreigners.”
Raising eyebrows on the “investigation” accomplished by the Maharashtra Police, the court docket mentioned “the statements of the witnesses recorded by police are stereotype and it can be said that word to word, line to line and para to para of the statements are copied… Most of the information shown to be given by the witnesses is apparently hearsay in nature”.
On the accusation that they intentionally unfold Covid-19, the judgment says “Considering the dates on which these persons were taken in custody, it can be said that there is more possibility that they got infected in India and they were not already infected when they arrived in India.”
The court docket has additionally questioned the “big propaganda in print 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.”
The order additional reads “a political government tries to find the scapegoat when there is pandemic or calamity and the circumstances show that there is probability that these foreigners were chosen to make them scapegoats….it is now high time for the concerned to repent about this action taken against the foreigners and to take some positive steps to repair the damage done by such action”.
It additional says “propaganda against the so called religious activity was unwarranted”.
Lambasting the authorities, the Bombay High Court mentioned “instead of helping them (foreigners) we lodged them in jails.”
In a associated matter hanging fireplace within the Supreme Court, the centre earlier this month advised the Supreme Court that overseas Tablighi Jamaat members are free to return to their international locations no matter their pending trial, offered they apologise for collaborating in a non secular congregation in Delhi throughout lockdown.