By Priyansh Verma
April 16, 2020
New Delhi: Tablighi Jamaat chief Maulana Saad Khandalvi along with six others has been booked under Section 304 (Punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder), IPC, by the Delhi Police.
Mandeep Singh Randhawa, PRO, Delhi Police said that Section 304 was imposed on them after considering the public prosecutor’s opinion.
Mohammad Abdul (name changed), an individual who attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation said, “What the Police have done is wrong. They shouldn’t have done so. We consider every individual in India our brothers, whether they’re Hindus or Muslims. We belong to this nation as our ancestors have lived here for ages. What is happening with us is unbearable and agonizing.”
Maulana Saad was earlier booked under bailable sections of the IPC.
Tanveer Ahmed, a social activist, has said that the Delhi Police is being exploited by the ruling party. “Targeting the Tablighi Jamaat congregation and its attendees is strategic, so that the attention of masses gets diverted from the real issues. For instance, the inability of the government to curb coronavirus cases.”
Tanveer also questioned the partiality in arrests, “There have been numerous instances where people have violated the lockdown. People in large numbers have gathered on the streets, why are they not being booked under section 304? Why are the police being selective?”
The Tablighi Jamaat congregation took place on March 13 at the Alami Markaz Banglewali Masjid, in Nizamuddin, Delhi. Over 3400 individuals had gathered at the mosque.
The attendees defied the lockdown measures and continued to stay at the mosque complex despite the Delhi government’s order of March 16 – which banned a congregation of over 50 people.
Subsequently, even after Prime Minister Modi’s announcement of a 21-day lockdown on March 24, the attendees didn’t leave the complex. On March 25, nearly 1000 individuals were present inside the Alami Masjid as reported.
The congregation came under the spotlight when one attendee died of Coronavirus in Srinagar. The death prompted the police to act quickly and track the movements of the Markaz attendees.
On April 6, the Ministry of Health and Family welfare had said that over 1400 COVID-19 cases have been linked to The Tablighi Jamaat incident.