The Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court, on Friday, granted bail to nine Tablighi Jamaatis who hail from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan and were arrested by Gadchiroli Police during lockdown. These foreign nationals were living in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district when they were arrested by the police on April 29 for violations of visa conditions and lockdown injunction.
Justice Manish, however, said that the bail was being granted with certain conditions. He directed the nine members to stay at Darool Uloom Shahi Urdu Arabic School at Kosara, Padoli, in Chandrapur and report to the city police station on every Monday. While directing the nine members to furnish a public relation bond of Rs 20,000 each as a surety amount, the court asked the police to withhold their passports till the probe is completed.
After attending the Tablighi Jamaat Markaz, at Delhi’s Nizamuddin, on their tourist visas in March, the nine members travelled to Gadchiroli. Firdos Mirza and Mir Nagman Ali, lawyers of the nine members, informed the court that the group had been staying at a mosque in Gadchiroli after their arrival from Delhi on March 11.
The lawyers argued that due to the lockdown implementation to contain coronavirus, the group had no choice but to stay in the district. They immediately informed the Gadchiroli superintendent office and informed the authorities about the entire schedule of their stay and departure in writing.
The group was arrested by Gadchiroli Police on April 29 and booked under section 14 (b) of the Foreigners (Amendment) Act, 2004, sections 188, 269, 270 of the IPC and section 3 and 4 of Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.
Mirza and Ali also pointed out that the petitioners’ entry and stay in Gadchiroli is valid as per rules as the district has many tourist places. The group never participated in Tablighi work and thus there is no violation of visa conditions. The police had also verified their passports carefully and had found them valid and in order.