Ministry of External Affairs explores ways to give embassies access to activists

NEW DELHI: The nations whose citizens are among the Tablighi Jamaat followers charged with visa violations are working with the foreign ministry and other Indian government agencies on the modalities to get access to these people.

These foreigners are quarantined due to worries over Covid-19, so the usual method of granting consular access under the Geneva Convention in visa violation cases may not work here. “This is an extraordinary situation and usual convention may not apply. Both sides are working out a feasible methodology for consular access,” a person in the know said.

More than 1,300 Tablighi workers from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand are put under quarantine and are likely to face action for visa violations. Officials said they could be deported after the quarantine period is over by chartering special flights. Otherwise, they could be sent back after resumption of international flight operations.

However, those who have tested positive for Covid-19 and facing visa violation would be deported only after they recover from the disease.


Some of these Tablighis have visas valid up to six months. As many as 493 of them are from Bangladesh, followed by Indonesia (472), Malaysia (150) and Thailand (142). Those from Bangladesh can be ferried through land route. A key land border post between India and Bangladesh is operational even during lockdown.

The Indonesian government has appreciated the assistance rendered to its nationals in Telangana. Ten Indonesians previously tested Covid-19 positive have recovered from the infection, state health authorities said. They will now enter a 14-day quarantine before being released.

Meanwhile, the home ministry has extended the visas of foreign nationals forced to stay in India due to Covid-19, on a “gratis basis” till April 15. For this, they need to apply online.

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