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Notice to Tablighi Jamaat chief, six others for defying coronavirus lockdown

The notice contains 26 questions seeking details of name, address, registration details of the organisation, details of its office bearers, details of income tax returns filed by Markaz.

Published: 03rd April 2020 12:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd April 2020 12:55 AM   |  A+A-

Delhi fire service staff sanitise area near the Nizamuddin mosque in New Delhi

Delhi fire service staff sanitise area near the Nizamuddin mosque in New Delhi.(Photo | Anil Shakya, EPS)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The Delhi Police issued a notice to seven people, including Tablighi Jamaat leader Maulana Saad Kandhalvi, and lodged an FIR against them for holding a religious congregation here allegedly in violation of the lockdown orders and not maintaining social distancing to contain the spread of coronavirus, officials said on Thursday.

The notice contains 26 questions seeking details of name, address, registration details of the organisation, details of its office bearers, details of income tax returns filed by Markaz for the last three years, PAN numbers, bank account numbers and bank statements for the last one year of the organisation.

The Delhi Police's Crime Branch wrote to Saad and others on Wednesday, seeking the details under Section 91 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Investigating officers in the case also sought a list of employees working for the organisation (Markaz), a number of religious gatherings organised by it from January 1, 2019, as per the notice.

A map plan of the premises was also sought.

Details, whether CCTV cameras are installed in the premises, have also been sought.

Officials have also asked the organisation to produce a copy of the permission sought from police or any other authorities, if any, for holding a religious gathering in the premises.

Details of audio-visual recording made by or in possession of any person who attended the gathering have also been sought.

Details of people -- both Indian and foreigners -- who arrived at the Markaz after March 12 and their health conditions have also been demanded.

Besides, officials sought details of people and volunteers who were on duty at the premises and details of curfew passes issued to any person.

The FIR was registered on Tuesday at Crime Branch police station on the complaint of SHO Nizamuddin.

According to the FIR, the Delhi Police contacted the authorities of Markaz on March 21 and reminded them of the government order that prohibited any political or religious gathering of more than 50 people.

One Mufti Shahzad was informed about the situation arising due to COVID-19 and was asked to take immediate action for preventing the spread of the disease.

He was directed to send the foreign devotees back to their respective countries and other Indian persons to their respective cities, the FIR stated.

However, no one paid any heed to the lawful direction of police, it added.

Moreover, an audio recording purportedly of Saad was found in circulation on WhatsApp on March 21, in which the speaker was heard asking his followers to defy the lockdown and social distancing and to attend the religious gathering of the Markaz, according to the FIR.

On March 24, the government ordered 21-day nationwide lockdown and restricted any social, political or religious gathering.

On March 24, a meeting was held at Hazarat Nizamuddin police station between SHO and officer bearers of Markaz.

The meeting was attended by Saad, Mohammad Ashraf, Mohammad Salman, Yunus, Mursaleen Saifi, Jishan and Mufti Shehzad and they were informed about lockdown orders, the FIR said.

It was found that despite repeated efforts, they did not inform the health department or any other government agency about the huge gathering inside the Markaz and deliberately disobeyed the government orders, it said.

The Sub District Magistrate of Defence Colony inspected the premises several times and found that around 1,300 people, including foreign nationals, were residing there without maintaining social distance.

It was also found that there were no arrangements of hand sanitizers and face masks, the FIR said.

Police said an extensive data mining has been carried out to identify the people who attended the congregation.

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