No more tourist visa for foreign Tablighi activists: Government

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NEW DELHI — The government has decided not to issue tourist visa to any foreigner who wish to visit India and take part in Tablighi activities, officials said on Tuesday.

The decision was taken after it was found that about 2,100 foreigners have come to India since January 01 and indulged in Tablighi activities in different parts of the country. Many of them have tested coronavirus positive.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has been advised that missions may be requested to refrain from granting tourist visa to such foreigner who is likely to use it for Tablighi activities, a home ministry official said.

The home ministry told the MEA that it should ensure that details regarding place of stay and return ticket as well as financial means to defray expenses in India by such visa applicants must be examined carefully before granting them tourist visas.

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In addition, the home ministry told the Delhi Police Commissioner to caution the Tablighi headquarters located in Delhi’s Nizamuddin and ensure that those who are promoting missionary activities on the strength of tourist visa are treated as visa violators.

They must not be allowed to conduct Tabligh activities on tourist visa, the ministry said.

In a statement, the ministry also said it is estimated that from January 01 onwards, approximately 2,100 foreigners had visited India for Tablighi activities.

As on March 21, approximately 824 foreigners, were dispersed in different parts of the country and 216 of them were staying at Nizamuddin Markaz.

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The home ministry said a total of 303 Tablighi activists had symptoms of COVID-19 and were referred to different hospitals in Delhi. Another 1,339 were quarantined in different centres in the national capital.

Tablighi Jamaat workers, both foreigners as well Indians, indulge in preaching tours or ”Chilla” across the country throughout the year. Various nationals, particularly from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Kyrgyzstan come for Tablighi activities.

All such foreign nationals normally report their arrival at Tablighi Markaz at Bangle Wali Mosque in Hazrat Nizamuddin, the statement said.

From here, they are detailed for ”Chilla” activities to different parts of the country, the home ministry said.

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