India: Court drops case against ‘scapegoated’ Muslims on spreading coronavirus

23rd Aug 2020
India: Court drops case against ‘scapegoated’ Muslims on spreading coronavirus

By Shuriah Niazi

 

NEW DELHI (AA): A court in western India quashed criminal proceedings Saturday against foreign and Indian nationals accused of snubbing precautions against the novel coronavirus by attending a Muslim congregation in a mosque, saying they were made “scapegoats.”

Judges in the city of Aurangabad [in Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court] Maharashtra state heard three separate petitions filed by the petitioners.

Judges TV Nalawade and MG Sewlikar said in their statement that there had been much “propaganda” in the media against the “foreigners who had come to Markaz Delhi [mosque] and an attempt was made to create a picture that these foreigners were responsible for spreading COVID-19 virus in India.”

“There was virtually persecution against these foreigners,” they said, adding there was “probability that these foreigners were chosen to make them scapegoats.”

“A political Government tries to find the scapegoat when there is pandemic or calamity and the circumstances,” said the bench.

“There was big propaganda in print media and electronic media against the foreigners who had come to Markaz Delhi and an attempt was made to create a picture that these foreigners were responsible for spreading COVID-19 virus in India. There was virtually persecution against these foreigners,” the court said.

Citing current infection figures in India, they underlined that these circumstances showed that legal action against those that attended the congregation should not have been taken.

“It is now high time for the concerned to repent about this action taken against the foreigners and to take some positive steps to repair the damage done by such action,” the court said.

“During the situation created by COVID-19 pandemic, we need to show more tolerance and need to be more sensitive towards our guests, particularly like the present petitioners. Instead of helping them, we lodged them in jails by making allegations that they were responsible for violation of travel documents and that they are responsible for spreading coronavirus,” the court said.

A total of 29 foreigners from Ivory Coast, Ghana, Tanzania, Djibouti, Benin and Indonesia were booked by police for staying in a mosque and violating lockdown orders in the city of Ahmednagar, roughly 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of Aurangabad.

They said they came on a valid visa issued by the government and were screened and tested for the coronavirus at the airport.

Muslims in India were targeted in different parts of the country in April following reports that there one local outbreak of COVID-19 had occurred at a mid-March religious gathering in New Delhi organized, by Tablighi Jamaat, a Muslim religious group.

[Map of India by US State Government/Public Domain]

Leave a Comment

What is 12 + 10 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)

Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

Latest Tweets