Chennai, May 6: The Madras High Court on Wednesday granted interim bail to six Thai nationals arrested by the Erode police on April 9 on charges of having spread COVID-19 to many people by indulging in religious propagation, though they had visited the country on a tourist visa.

Justice G.K. Ilanthiraiyan granted bail to them for eight weeks on the condition that they should stay in Chennai till further orders and their place of stay should be informed to the Commissioner of Greater Chennai Corporation so that they remain under monitoring, The Hindu reported. 

According to the prosecution, an FIR was registered against Sohwang Donramarn, 75, Bao Wangae, 69, Thawisak Yeeraman, 39, Korled Lateh, 69, Amnat Sohnai, 58, and Muhammad Sa-U, 47, on April 6, following a complaint lodged by tahsildar Parimaladevi, informed the police that the accused had come to India with another person named Khamidoi Donrosak in March.

They had stayed in some of the mosques in Erode town and indulged in propagating their religion. Though Donrosak and Muhammad Sa-U tested positive, they continued their activities.

The tahsildar also went on to state that the duo attempted to fly back to Thailand through the Coimbatore airport where they were found to be suffering from COVID-19 symptoms. Immediately, they were taken to a local hospital where Donrosak, a diabetic, died.

After confirming that Muhammad Sa-U was also suffering from COVID-19, he was shifted to a government hospital in Erode for treatment, Ms. Parimaladevi had said and insisted upon registering a criminal case against all six of them for endangering other lives.

Accordingly, the police booked them under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code, the Visa Manual of 2019 read with the Foreigners Act of 1946 and the Tamil Nadu Public Health Act of 1939. They were also arrested and remanded to judicial custody on April 9.

However, in their joint bail application, the petitioners denied all charges and claimed that they had come to India only as tourists and resided in mosques because they could not afford to pay for hotel rooms.

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