NEW DELHI: The FIR filed by Delhi Police Crime Branch against Maulana Muhammad Saad Kandhlawi, head of Tablighi Jamaat, and six others, charges them with wilful flouting of lockdown orders.
They were booked under the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897 and the Indian Penal Code on March 31. The FIR said that the Jamaat officials ‘willfully’ disobeyed the government directives issued to curtail the pandemic.
It said Mufti Shehzaad was apprised of the situation and asked to send all ‘devotees’, including foreigners, back to their countries and respective states immediately. “However, no one paid heed to the lawful directions of Delhi Police. Moreover, an audio recording, purportedly by Maulana Saad, was found in circulation on Whatsapp on March 21 in which the speaker was heard asking his followers to defy lockdown and social distancing,” says the FIR.
The SHO of Hazrat Nizamuddin police station, Mukesh Walia, on whose complaint the FIR was registered, also alleged that the oragnisation had not acted despite two notices — one by Walia and the other by the ACP concerned. The SDM concerned also visited the Nizamuddin Markaz, the headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat, for five days from March 26 to convince the Tablighis to vacate.
“Around 1,300 devotees from various states as well as foreign countries were found residing on the premises without maintaining social distance. No one was seen following the directions such as the use of facial mask, hand sanitizers etc. Maulana Saad and others and the management of Markaz allowed a huge gathering in a closed area over a protracted period of time, without any semblance of social distancing and no provision of masks and sanitizers and thereby causing a situation where a highly infectious disease such as coronavirus may spread and threaten the lives of inmates and the general public at large,” the FIR says.
On Thursday, the Delhi government wrote to the Commissioner of Police SN Srivastava requesting to deploy forces in hospitals and quarantine facilities where Markaz inmates have been put up. On Wednesday, doctors had complained that the patients from Markaz had been creating a law and order problem.