In an interesting development, the Bombay High Court on Friday quashed the criminal charges registered against 34 people, including 28 foreign Tablighi Jamaat members.
Categorically stating that the government made a scapegoat out of those members, the court reportedly said, “A political Government tries to find scapegoat when there is pandemic or calamity, and the circumstances show that there is probability that these foreigners were chosen to make them scapegoats.”
The Aurangabad bench of the court, that comprised Justice TV Nalawade and Justice MG Sewlikar, minced no words in criticizing the decision to file criminal cases against them.
Saying that the foreigners were booked and arrested upon specific instructions from the Central government, it added that Centre’s action was mainly directed against Muslims.
The Bench further said, “Social and religious tolerance is a practical necessity for unity and integrity in India and that is also made compulsory by our Constitution. By hard work over the past years after independence, we have reconciled religion and modernity to a great extent. This approach helps participation of most in a developing process. We have been respecting both religious and secular sensibilities since independence and by this approach, we have kept India as united.”
All 34 accused had earlier moved the High Court seeking revocation of the criminal cases filed against them. Saying that they came to India on valid visas, they contended that they were screened for COVID-19 upon their arrival at airports.