4,000 blacklisted for engaging in Tablighi activity illegally: Why India needs to do more
New Delhi, Apr 03: Violating visa norms and engaging in Tablighi related activity is nothing new. There have been scores of cases in the past several years, where these persons have come on tourist visas and engaged in Tablighi related activity.
The Tablighi Jamaat is in the news after a large number of its workers were infected with the COVID-19 from foreigners who visited the Markaz in Nizamuddin last month. In fact, the Tablighi has now been dubbed as the super spreader of the virus.
In the past five years, the government has blacklisted over 4,000 foreigners who have flouted visa norms and engaged in Tablighi activity. An official with the Home Ministry tells OneIndia that these persons face an immigration blacklist if they are found preaching in India. The officer explained that these persons cannot undertake such activity when they are on a tourist visa. Most of them flout the norms as they are unwilling to go through the stringent process to obtain a religious missionary visa.
So far over 4,000 persons have been blacklisted, the officer explained, while adding that they will have to continue to deal with this problem. The norms will be further tightened to ensure that such activity does not prevail in India, which is not in accordance with the norms, the officer further noted.
The members of the Tablighi Jamaat have in the past too violated visa norms and have been blacklisted, the official cited above said. These persons need to have religious missionary visas to attend such congregations. However the members of the Tablighi have in the past and this time as well violated the norms by using tourist visas. The official explained that a religious missionary visa is given after through scrutiny and after several rounds of vetting. In order to avoid this process, these persons often use tourist visas and attend such congregations, the official also explained.
The MHA in a statement said that the Bureau of Immigration has been sharing since February 1 with State authorities, details of all international arrivals from affected countries based on Self Declaration Form filled in by them. In addition, since March 6, Bureau of Immigration had also been sharing details of all the international arrivals (both Indians and foreigners) at all the international airports in the country.
The super spread:
Nearly 65 per cent of the new all India cases are linked to the event that took place in the city. At least 295 delegates from across the country who had attended the religious congregation at Delhi last month have tested positive, accounting for more than 60 per cent of the 485 confirmed cases across the country recorded till Thursday.
The nation wide count has crossed 2,000 with Delhi (141), Maharashtra (88) and Tamil Nadu (75) adding to the numbers in a big way.
On Thursday Delhi led the tally with 129 of the 141 cases being linked to the Jamaat. The states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka accounted for 143 Talblighi delegates of their contacts testing positive.
In Tamil Nadu 74 of the 75 cases comprised Tablighi delegates or their contacts. In Telangana the number stood at 26 of 27 while in Karnataka it was 11 of 14. All 32 cases reported in Andhra Pradesh were linked to the Jamaat.
In the states of Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur all the cases reported were linked to the congregation.
In Rajasthan out of the 13 cases, 3 were linked to the Jamaat while in UP the number was 2 out of ten. In Maharashtra, 8 out of the 88 cases were linked to the Tablighi Jamaat.