Coronavirus : 10 foreign nationals found staying in a mosque in Ahmednagar, trustees booked

India is battling an unprecedented crisis spawned by the coronavirus outbreak in the country. While it entered its 8th day of nationwide lockdown, reports are now emerging from across the country of a steady rise in the number of positive COVID-19 cases. Most of these positive cases either have a history of foreign travel or have contracted the disease by coming in direct contact with those who have recently returned from outside India.

However, another telltale fact about the spread of the virus has come to the fore. According to the reports, foreign nationals suspected of being contracted with the virus are now found from many mosques across the country. Recently, 10 foreign Muslims were discovered in a mosque of Newasa town of Ahmednagar district.

A mosque in the city of Newasa found 10 people from four outside countries living in the mosque. Two trustees of the mosque have been charged under the Disaster Management Act, Maharashtra Police Act, Indian Disease Act, Corona Prohibition Rules and others. They have been accused of sheltering the foreign Muslims in the mosque.

Police constable Pratap Singh Bhagwan Dahifle had filed a complaint in this regard, stating that while on patrol in Newasa on March 30, police inspector Ranjit Dere learned from a secret reporter that people from outside the country were staying in the mosque in Newasa. When the mosque was raided, the police found there 10 foreign Muslims from African nations along with mosque trustees Jummakhan Nawabakhan Pathan and Salim Babulal Pathan.

The police claimed that the trustee members were already informed about the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic but they still violated the prohibition order of the collector, allowing foreign nations to stay in the mosque. They are charged under violations of the mobilization order as per section 37 (1) (3) of the Maharashtra Police Act, 1951, Section 11 of the Corona COVID-19 law, 2020, and under Section 2, 3 and 4 of the Epidemics Disease Act, 1897.

Besides, two people, one from Ivory Coast and one NRI from France had tested positive for COVID-19 in Ahmednagar on Sunday. The duo was a member of a Muslim Jamaat, involved in preaching and education, had come to India along with a group of 9 persons on January 4 via Mauritius. They had stayed at a local mosque in Ahmednagar and then went to Jamkhed. The Ahmednagar Police had raided the mosque in Jamkhed and found that 14 members had gathered to offer namaz. An offence was lodged again the three trustee members of the mosque under relevant sections and members were sent into quarantine. Tests for two members of the group, the man from Ivory Coast and NRI from France had returned positive for novel COVID-19.

Maharashtra is the state worst affected by coronavirus so far in India. With 230 cases in total and over a 100 in Mumbai alone, the state is pulling all resources to contain the pandemic.

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