The police action against the worshippers has drawn backlash from the political leaders and concerned citizens
NEW DELHI – Amid continued targeting of Muslim prayer, the police in Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad district have faced flak after 26 people have been booked for offering namaz inside houses of the Chhajlet area.
Citing the reason for the arrest, the police said that the Muslims in the area have offered prayer by holding mass gatherings without permission. If permission is required to pray at home, he had no answer to the question.
“Scores of people assembled at the house of two local villagers on August 24 without any notice and offered prayers. They had been cautioned in the past not to indulge in encouraging such a practice at home, following objections from neighbours,” SP (Rural), Moradabad, Sandeep Kumar was quoted by Times of India as saying.
The SHO of Chhajlet police station told Clarion India that they have filed the FIR against 16 known persons and 10 unidentified.
“They have started a new ritual. Some Hindu neighbours had complained against it. Therefore, the FIR was lodged. But no one has been arrested,” the SHO clarified.
However, the police action against the worshippers has drawn backlash from the political leaders and concerned citizens.
Reacting to the reports, All India Muslim Majlis ittehadul Muslameen (AIMMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying whether Muslims cannot offer namaz even inside their houses.
“Till when Muslims will be treated as second-class citizens in the country,” asked Owaisi.
“Extremism has spread in the society to the extent that even offering namaz inside the house now hurts religious sentiment,” he added.
Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah said if havan is conducted in place of namaz, it would be acceptable.
“I’m sure if one of the neighbours had a hawan with 26 friends & relatives that would be perfectly acceptable. It’s not the “mass gathering” that is the problem, it’s the offering of namaz,” he said.
Rajya Sabha MP Imran Pratapgarhi also slammed the Moradabad police saying the police do not believe in the constitution. He asked PM Modi whether the country will be run in this way. He asked the UP government as to whether the police had been given free hand to persecute Muslims.
“What can be more communal than FIR is being filed for offering prayer inside the house,” said Prataphgarhi.
Zafarul Islam Khan, former chairman of Delhi Minority Commission, asked, “Is offering namaz a crime.”
Hindutva groups have been targeting Muslims for offering namaz in open places. Recently, they have protested in Bhopal after some people offered namaz at designated place in the mall. Later, the mall authority cancelled the permission to offer prayer.