Over 300 foreign nationals — who had come to India to take part in a religious congregation in Nizamuddin four months ago but ended up facing legal action and travel restrictions — may finally be able to return home.
Earlier this week, the look-out circulars (LOC) against 318 of the 956 foreigners — who had come to attend the Tabhlighi Jamat event in Hazrat Nizamuddin — was revoked by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
This was done after a court allowed the foreigners to walk free on payment of a fine.
The return, however, won’t be without riders as they would remain blacklisted for allegedly violating visa norms.
A senior official with the Ministry of Home Affairs has confirmed that the LOCs issued against these foreign nationals has been withdrawn after they were freed by the court.
“They have written to their respective Embassies asking them for the travel plan of each foreign national who was in the LOCs list. Following health protocols, the members will start leaving the country by next week,” said the officer.
He added that foreign nationals from 35 countries — who were detained for violating visa norms will continue to be blacklisted. The LOCs of remaining foreign nationals will be revoked as per the court orders.
The list and instructions have been given to the Immigration Department.
On April 1, the police had registered an FIR against foreign nationals for attending the religious gathering and violating guidelines issued in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak in the country. The investigation was later transferred to the Crime Branch.
The police have submitted 47 chargesheets against 956 foreign nationals.
During the period of around four months, the foreign nationals were detained at several locations in the city.
On Friday, a Delhi court allowed 34 foreign nationals from Thailand to walk free on payment of different fines after they accepted mild charges under the plea bargain process.
The court directed the foreigners to deposit their fines at the PMCARES since they have been found guilty of violating government orders pertaining to the pandemic.