Some 189 Malaysians who attended a tabligh gathering in India back in March, are still stranded in the country due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told a press conference in Parliament today that the group is being detained for violating their visa, as Indian law does not allow tourist visa holders to attend religious functions.

The bulk (157) of those stranded are in New Delhi, where the tabligh gathering took place, followed by 23 in Chennai, and nine in Mumbai.

"The majority of them are accused of misusing their social visit passes for religious purposes," Astro Awani reported Hishammuddin as saying.

Some of them have been charged in the court for the offence and subsequently freed, while others are still undergoing legal proceedings.

"We are working out a plan to bring back 136 Malaysians who have undergone legal proceedings in India, via a special chartered flight on July 17," he said.

According to Hishammuddin, 23,955 Malaysians stranded in 82 countries due to the pandemic, have thus far been brought home, while there are still 10,159 others, including 9,270 final year students, still stuck overseas.

India is the third worst hit country by the pandemic, with 937,844 cases, and 24,327 deaths recorded so far.

Globally, the disease has infected more than 13.4 million people and killed over 581,000.

Source: Astro Awani
Photo source: Astro Awani