Those with low self-respect or who seek validation from others, often end up being taken for granted. This is as true for individuals, as it is for nations.
Bharat’s courts – in Delhi, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu – let off foreign members of the Tablighi Jamaat, including around 60 from Malaysia, with just minor fines (ranging from INR 7,000 to 10,000) despite committing serious visa fraud, endangering public health & safety, doing illegal missionary activity, and disobeying, even attacking, public servants.
How has Malaysia responded to this ‘generosity’?
Yesterday, a Malaysian court jailed a 57-year-old Bharatiya man for five months for violating a home quarantine order. He was also fined 12,000 ringgit ($2,864 i.e. ~ INR 2.15 lakhs ) by the Alor Setar Magistrate’s Court, which held a special hearing at a Kedah hospital where the accused was undergoing treatment.
The man, who resides in Malaysia and owns a restaurant in the northern state of Kedah, pleaded guilty to four charges of violating a mandated 14-day home quarantine order upon his return from Bharat in July. He visited his restaurant during quarantine (after initially testing negative), and is believed to be responsible for infecting a cluster of 45 cases.
Now, compare this man’s case with what Tablighi Jamaatis, especially those from Malaysia, did. Remember, the Jamaat held a similar gathering in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from Feb 27 to March 1, before the Nizamuddin, Delhi event held from 13-15 March. By 11 March itself, Malaysia and neighbouring countries had reported Covid-19 cases linked to the event. So the organizers of the Nizamuddin Markaz event and those who came from Malaysia displayed gross negligence in not getting tested for Covid-19 right away.
956 foreigners belonging to 36 different countries were booked in the Delhi Nizamuddin Markaz case where a congregation of 9000 Tablighi Jamaat members had assembled. The Jamaatis first ignored government guidelines asking all recent foreign arrivals to self-isolate/home quarantine, then the organizers ignored orders to end large gatherings in an orderly fashion (indeed, Tablighi Jamaat’s head Maulana Saad Kandhalvi delivered sermons telling his flock to gather in mosques and rely on prayers to defeat Coronavirus), thousands of them dispersed across the country & hid in mosques while ignoring repeated requests by authorities to get screened & tested, and then many of them displayed disgusting behavior with nurses and medical staff when taken to quarantine centres and hospitals.
In Delhi, the legal largesse for foreign Jamaatis was delivered by Metropolitan Magistrates Siddharth Malik and Gurmohina Kaur last month.
In Karnataka, High Court Justice Krishna S. Dixit quashed criminal cases against 9 foreign nationals of the Jamaat last week. They were arrested after engaging in religious propagation in Tumakuru (in violation of their tourist visa) post return from the Delhi event. Tumakuru later became a hotspot for the spread of COVID-19. Their ‘punishment’: leave the country immediately, not visit again in the next 10 years, pay fine levied by authorities. The court, however, did not quash the case against seven Bharatiya citizens on grounds of their case being on a ‘different footing’.
While rejecting the foreigners’ allegation that police initiated criminal proceedings due to “prejudice generated by media propaganda and for statistical purpose of the State”, court praised the police for “exercising a lot of restraint despite running a huge risk of COVID-19 infection and tolerating the attack/assault by the miscreants.” So in this case the Jamaatis actually attacked the police, and their petition exhibits zero sign of remorse (in fact they are blaming the State), yet the judge thought it fit to let them off with a paltry fine?
But the best exhibition of extreme left-liberal mindset of our judiciary was given by the Madras HC. In June, Justice G.R. Swaminathan granted bail to 31 foreign Tablighis and asked the police to consider closing cases against them as “they aren’t criminals” and “have suffered enough”. Some of the other remarks made by the judge are reproduced below:
“Merely because the petitioners have contravened the visa conditions, they cannot be seen as criminals. The situation calls for empathy and understanding. The petitioners are yearning to breathe the native air in their own ground.”
The judge’s failure to respond to the petitioners’ “existential horror” would amount to judicial abdication, the court stated.
“At the heart of every constitution, there pulsates a distinction between ‘us’ and ‘them’, the constitutional self and the constitutional others. But there are provisions transcending this distinction, being applicable to ‘all persons’.”
“They are normal human beings. They are now stuck in alien surroundings. The petitioners came here propelled by a sense of religious idealism. But their mission went awry. They are now eager to go back to their families”
The judge said he viewed the petitioners as “thirty-one individuals instead of collectively thingifying them as Tablighis”.
Such misplaced generosity, instead of strict implementation of laws in a country beset by illegal immigration and foreign proselytisation, by our judiciary will not earn it or the country any international goodwill. Such judgements are a clear sign that Bharat is a soft state, which treats foreigners and minorities with kid gloves. The likes of veteran Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohammed will continue to disparage Bharat’s legal system by claiming terror-accused Zakir Naik ‘would not get a fair trial should he be deported back to India’.
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