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Coronavirus: Centre blacklists foreign Tablighi Jamaat workers for flouting visa rules

NEW DELHI: The Centre has initiated blacklisting proceedings against 360 more foreign Tablighi Jamaat workers, who attended a huge congregation at Markaz Nizamuddin, which has emerged as the country’s biggest hotspot for coronavirus.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Friday said that the 360 Tablighis from abroad had participated in the Jamaat activities like 960 other foreign Tablighis who have already been blacklisted for visa violations. The 360 foreigners had left the country before borders were sealed to contain the spread of the corona pandemic.

Officials ruled out deportation of 960 foreigners who came on tourist visa and participated in Tablighi activities, saying action has already been initiated for alleged violations of visa conditions under the Foreigners Act and the Disaster Management Act.

It said that all director generals of police and commissioners of police have been instructed to initiate strict action in such cases. “At this stage there is no question of deportation…As and when deportation will take place, it will be as per standard health protocol,” said Punya Salila Srivastava, Joint Secretary in the MHA, when asked about deportation of the 960 foreigners.

Sources in the government also shared details of the 960 Tablighis, saying the group comprised people of 41 countries and maximum people came from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

As per the government data, 40 per cent of the 960 foreigners, whose visas were cancelled, came from Indonesia while 379 from Indonesia participated in the congregation. On Thursday, the government had announced that 960 Tablighis had been blacklisted  and their visas cancelled for indulging in Tablighi activities while on tourist visas.

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