By Syed Ali Mujtaba
Chennai June 26: The Federation of Tamil Nadu Muslim organizations and political parties have vehemently appealed to the state government for release 129 foreign Tabligi Jamat (TJ) members lodged in Puzhal Central Prison complex here.
The Tamil Nadu government has designated the Juvenile prison within Puzhal jail for the detention of 129 foreign TJ members who have violated Visa regulations.
These are 53 citizens from Indonesia, 17 from Malaysia, 14 from Bangladesh, 14 from Thailand, 13 from Myanmar, 8 from Ethiopia, 5 from France, 3 from Cameroon, 1 from Congo, 1 from Belgium.
Addressing an online press conference, the Islamic Federation has asked the Tamil Nadu government to drop all cases against the foreign TJ members and set them free from the illegal dentation and send them to their respective countries.
The online press conference was addressed by the Islamic Federation’s President and Jamathul Ulama Council President, Moulana P.A Haja Moinudeen Hazrath, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi President M.H.Jawahirullah, SDPI President Nellai Mubarak, Coordinators M Manzoor Khasifi, Alhaj M Basheer Ahmed and others.
There were 129 foreign TJ members including 12 women belonging to 9 different countries who were arrested by Tamil Nadu police from the various places of the state following the discovery of coronavirus linkage with TJ members and Nizamuddin Markaz world conference in New Delhi.
The Madras High Court and its subsidiary courts granted bail to 98 TJ members arrested in 12 cases. Similarly, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court granted bail to other 31 foreign TJ members.
All these foreign TJ members who were earlier put up at Saidapet sub jail but after being given bail, were shifted to Juvenile prison within the Puzhal Central jail complex.
This included 31 foreign TJ members who were arrested from the Southern districts of Tamil Nadu and their bail plea was heard by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court.
While granting bail to 31 TJ members on June 12, 2020, the Madurai Bench of Madras High court stated that it is not fair to detain them in the Special Camp within Puzhal Prison complex and the government should consider keeping them in any other good place.
The court further stated that “these people have served maximum sentences for violation of Visa rules and there is no proof that these people have spread Coronavirus. In such a situation, if the petitioners execute appropriate affidavits expressing their regret for having violated the visa conditions, proceedings against them shall be concluded by filing final reports recording the same,” the court said.
The Islamic Federation Based on the judgment of the Madurai Bench of Madras High court held a online press conference where it said; “It is contempt of the Judgment given by the Madurai Bench of Madras High court to illegally keep 31 foreign TJ members in Puzhal prison, whose case have been closed and have been acquitted and absolved of all cases against them.”
“Further, those 98 people including 8 women who have got bail from court but their cases are still not disposed of and are still kept in detention even more than 60 days of their arrests are illegal.”
The Islamic federation appealed to the state government to drop all pending cases against the remaining 98 foreign nationals and stop their illegal detention in Puzhal prison complex and house them in some better place.
A member of Islamic Federation and President Manithaneya Makkal Katchi, M H Jawahirullah pointed out that the central government has given clear guidelines about these special camps as to how they should function.
Frist, such a detention center should not be located within the prison complex which is not in this case. Second, the food for such detainees should be prepared in a separate Kitchen but in this case, foreign TJ members are served food meant for the prisoners of Puzhal Jail. Third, the guidelines say the detention place should have proper ventilation for air and sunlight but that’s not there in this detention center, M H Jawahirullah said.
He added; “the Juvenile prison within Puzhal jail can accommodate only 30 to 40 persons but there are 129 TJ members cramped in an inhuman condition in such detention center that too at the times Covid crisis is huge violation of social distancing norms begs human attention.”
The MMK leader demanded that Tamil Nadu government should house these foreign TJ members in a ‘near human’ conditions and suggested keeping them at Jamia Qasmiya Arabic College in Washermanpet locality, till they are sent to their respective countries.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org