Court acquits 12 Tablighis, including 9 from Thailand

The accused, all of whom were out on bail, were acquitted for lack of evidence.

A local court in Bareilly has acquitted 12 members of the Tablighi Jamaat — nine Thais and three Indians, all above 50 years old — who were booked last year by the Shahjahanpur police for allegedly violating lockdown norms. The accused, all of whom were out on bail, were acquitted for lack of evidence.

Following a High Court directive, the case lodged in Shahajanpur was heard in a Bareilly court. On Friday, the 12 appeared before the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) that exonerated them. Of the Indians, two are from Tamil Nadu and one from Shahjahanpur. “The CJM, Atul Chaudhary, on Friday acquitted all persons for wants of evidence. In all, nine prosecution witnesses — all policemen — were examined by the court,” government counsel Prem Chandra Rai said on Saturday.

The lawyer said this was the last case involving Tablighi Jamaat members pending in Bareilly. In most of the cases, the accused confessed to the crime, he added.

According to the prosecution, the 12 were arrested in April 2020 from a mosque where some of them were hiding, and other places in Shahjahanpur district.

The police seized the passports of the Thais, and sent all the 12 to jail after they completed their quarantine. The police later filed a charge sheet against them. They were booked on various IPC sections.

Rai said the accused submitted discharge applications in a lower court but the pleas were dismissed.

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