On Wednesday, the Delhi Police booked Tablighi Jamaat chief Maulana Saad Kandhalvi and few others for culpable homicide not amounting to murder after some of the attendees of the religious congregation died due to coronavirus.
According to reports, Kandhalvi had organised the religious gathering at Nizamuddin Markaz last month against the social distancing protocol imposed by the Centre to curb the spread of the deadly disease. An FIR was registered against the cleric on March 31 at Crime Branch police station on a complaint of the Station House Officer of Nizamuddin.
An FIR lodged against Saad and others under section 304 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). According to Section 304, whoever commits culpable homicide not amounting to murder shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years. Earlier, Maulana Saad was booked under sections which were bailable but after the addition of Section 304, it will be tough to secure bail.
In an audio message, Kandhalvi had said that he was exercising self-quarantine after several hundreds who visited the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Nizamudddin Markaz tested positive for coronavirus.
The FIR registered against the Tablighi Jamaat event says that the Delhi Police contacted the authorities of Nizamuddin Markaz on March 21 and reminded them of the government order which prohibited any political or religious gathering of more than 50 people.
It says that despite repeated efforts, the event organisers failed to inform the health department or any other government agency about the huge gathering inside the Markaz and deliberately disobeyed government orders.
The Nizamudddin centre, attended by thousands, turned out to be a hotspot for spread of coronavirus not only in the national capital, but the entire country. More than 25,500 Tablighi members and their contacts have been quarantined in the country after the Centre and the state governments conducted a "mega operation" to identify them.
At least 9,000 people participated in the religious congregation in Nizamuddin. Later, many of the attendees travelled to various parts of the country.