New Delhi: Tablighi Jamaat Ameer (leader) Maulana Muhammad Saad Kandhalvi aka Hazrat Ji has been booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder for holding a gathering last month that authorities say led to a big jump in coronavirus infections, the police said.
The headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat group (Nizamuddin Markaz ) in south Delhi were sealed and thousands of followers, including some foreign national from Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh, were taken into quarantine after it emerged they had attended meetings there in mid-March.
Earlier, a FIR against Kandhalvi was registered for violating ban on big gatherings on March 31 but had now invoked the law against culpable homicide, a police spokesman said.
“Delhi police had filed a first information report earlier against the Tablighi chief, now section 304 has been added,” the officer said, referring to culpable homicide in the penal code, which carries a maximum punishment of a 10-year prison term.
The Tablighi jamaat is one of the world’s largest Sunni Muslim organisation with followers in more than 80 countries, encourages fellow members to focus more on practicing their religion particularly in matters of ritual, dress and personal behaviour.
Kandhalvi is now on self-quarantine which runs out tomorrow and police is looking forward to take him into custody as it finishes.
Authorities claimed that a third of the nearly 3,000 coronavirus cases at the beginning of the month were either people who attended the Tablighi gathering or those who were later exposed to them.
Tablighi Jamaat earlier in its clarification said that many of the followers who had visited Nizamuddin Markaz were stranded after the government declared a three-week lockdown, and the Markaz had no choice but to offer them shelter.
The Delhi Police is now scrutinising the account books to ascertain the amount received by them from the attendees, the Times of India reported.
The Tablighi Jamaat was also linked to a surge of cases in Pakistan where it cancelled a similar gathering, but only at the last minute when thousands had already arrived at premises in the city of Lahore.