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Another Namaz Row: Hindutva Zealots Squirm Over UP Police Taking Muslim Side

The police, after an inquiry, found nothing against the woman, who offered namaz at a Prayagraj hospital. They said she had no wrong intentions and was not obstructing any work or traffic, but was only praying for the recovery of her loved one which is not a crime.

Syed Ali Mujtaba

Hindutva zealots went hammer and tongs on WhatsApp, Twitter, and other social media platforms pressurising the UP Police to take action against a Muslim woman who was found offering ‘namaz’ at a secluded place in a hospital. 

This happened on Friday, September 23, 2022 at a government hospital in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh where some mischievous elements filmed the woman, attendant of a patient, while praying. Soon, a video of her offering ‘namaz’ outside a ward at the hospital was widely circulated on social media with comments pouring in on the video terming her act illegal as the hospital is a public space. Some even went on to ask the police to register an FIR against the Muslim lady as according to them such an act is not permissible in Uttar Pradesh which is under the BJP rule. 

However, the police, after an inquiry, found nothing against the woman. According to them she had no wrong intentions and was not obstructing any work or traffic, but was only praying for the recovery of her loved one which is not a crime.

“The inquiry found that the woman in the video was offering ‘namaz’ without any wrong intentions, and without obstructing any work or traffic, for quick recovery of the patient admitted in the hospital. This act does not fall into any category of crime,” goes a tweet of the Prayagraj Police.

However, Hindutva elements are not happy with the police finding. They said they won’t want to see any Muslim praying at a public place or on open spaces in the state.

Recently, on Shajahanpur-Lucknow-Delhi highway, some Muslim pilgrims from West Bengal, on their way to Ajmer, stopped to offer ‘namaz’ on the roadside. Some Hindutva zealots hauled them up and made them do sit-ups for praying under the open sky. The Muslim pilgrims were even taken to a police station where they had to give a written apology for offering namaz. However, the police took no action against those who had taken the law into their hands.

In a similar incident two months ago, there were protests by rightwing Hindu groups over Muslims offering namaz at the Lulu Mall in Lucknow. The Muslims who offered prayer were arrested and later granted bail.

In Madhya Pradesh, a mall in Bhopal witnessed protests by Hindu groups after some employees were recorded praying in a corner of the mall. Later at both the malls, “any religious activity” was banned on their premises.

Commenting on the growing hate crimes against Muslims for praying in open, AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi asked, “Is praying for some beloved one admitted in the hospital, that too in a corner, without disturbing, hurting anyone can be a crime? What really is the intention of those raising objection wherever ‘namaz’ is offered, FIR is registered against the ‘namazis’,” he asked.

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Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba2007@gmail.com

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