The home ministry has blacklisted 960 foreigners currently in India on tourist visas for their involvement in the activities of the religious group Tablighi Jamaat, whose event in Delhi last month turned out to be a hotspot for coronavirus. Several people from COVID-19 nations had attended the event. So far, more than 550 people with links to the gathering have tested positive for coronavirus.
The ministry said more than 1,300 foreign Tablighi Jamaat activists from the US, France and Italy, have been identified in different parts of the country.
"The home ministry has blacklisted 960 foreigners and their Indian visas have also been cancelled for their involvement in Tablighi Jamaat activities while coming on tourist visas," the Union home minister's Amit Shah's office tweeted in Hindi.
"We have cancelled their visa. Now necessary legal action would be taken against of them and they would be deported back to their host country," a senior government official told NDTV.
According to him, legal proceedings will be initiated against all blacklisted Tablighi Jamaat workers under Section 14 of Foreigners Act, which involves misuse of visa. Foreigners visiting on tourist visa are not allowed to take part in religious activities. States have been asked to take action against them and the home ministry has also ordered action under the Disaster Management Act.
The government has also decided not to issue tourist visa to any foreigner who wishes to visit India and take part in Tablighi activities.
"As of now, they are either in quarantine facilities or in hospitals. After medical treatment, they would be shifted to detention centres in states they are in and the proceedings will continue from there," an official said.
The home ministry has provided all details to Ministry of External Affairs to help them get in touch with the 67 nations to which the people belong. The foreign ministry is working out the details of how each country would take their nationals back.
The home ministry meanwhile, issued the 3rd Addendum to lockdown, adding details regarding the release of foreign nationals from quarantine facilities and evacuation.
As per Home Ministry guidelines for evacuation of a foreign national, a chartered ﬂight has to be arranged by the concerned nation in consultation with the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
Prior to departure, the foreign national would be screened for COVID-19 symptoms. Only those who are asymptomatic, will be allowed to leave. In case of a person still showing symptoms, the future course of treatment would be followed.