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Using tourist visas in violation of the norms nothing new for Tablighi Jamaat members

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New Delhi, Apr 01: The Tablighi Jamaat congregation held this month at Nizamuddin has emerged as one of the top hot spots for the coronavirus.

The government has now learnt that most of those who attended the congregation from abroad had done so while violating visa norms. The government has now said that it would blacklist all those who attended the congregation in violation of the visa norms.

Using tourist visas in violation of the norms nothing new for Tablighi Jamaat members

800 such persons have been identified and over 200 had violated the visa norms, a source told OneIndia.

What is the Tablighi Jamaat and how does it function

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 first time the connection between the Tablighi Jamaat and coronavirus emerged was on March 17 2020. It was at this time that a case was detected in Telangana and by March 21, the Ministry of Home Affairs had drawn up a list of 800 foreigners associated with the Tablighi Jamaat.

It was learnt that an Indonesian, who attended the conference at Nizamuddin and travelled to Telangana had tested positive on March 17. Home Ministry sources tell OneIndia that nearly 1,000 Tablighi workers from abroad were in India. Of this around 200 were staying in Nizamuddin, the source also said.

Tablighi Jamaat: The core of the Islamic ecosystem and the danger it poses

The source also said that once they had identified the 800 foreign nationals, an advisory was sent to all the states to track them and medically screen them. The MHA says that nationals of Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Kyrgyzstan had come for proselytising activities.

The MHA says that so far 1,203 Tablighi Jamaat workers had been screened of which 303 had symptoms of COVID-19. 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.

Meanwhile the government has decided to blacklist all the foreigners who attended the Tablighi Jamaat event at Nizamuddin for violation of visa rules. Nearly 800 will be blacklisted, government sources have confirmed. Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said that all those who travelled to India on tourist visas recently and violated visa conditions will be proceeded against legally. This would include being blacklisted as well, he said.

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