Noida: The Noida police have issued a diktat to multinational companies, asking them to direct their employees not to offer Friday prayers in community parks. The diktat also warns the companies that they will be held liable for any breach of the order by the employees. The order has put the Muslims in the area on the horns of dilemma as there is no mosque in a 5-km radius; the park was the only place for them to go. Now, where?
Given the communal overtones of the diktat, the MNCs, which employ a fair number of Muslims, have taken umbrage and sought a meeting with senior police officers for a clarification; they also plan to move the court against the order. However, after the diktat led to a public outcry on Tuesday, with the electronic media lapping up the story, the police went on the back foot and claimed that the notice was not targeted at Muslims but was religion-neutral.
The provocation for the order came when a few right wing groups complained to the SSP that the Friday congregational prayers in the open mar communal amity. Reacting with unusual alacrity, last week, at least 12 MNCs, including HCL, got a notice which said “nobody is allowed to offer Friday prayers in the Sector 58 Park”. The devotees have been asked to offer prayers instead in mosques, idgahs or on the premises of the company.
However, Ajay Pal, SSP Noida, is adamant that the notice doesn’t target any particular religious denomination. He claims some people had sought permission to offer prayers in the park in Sector 58, but they weren’t allowed by the city magistrate. Still, many devout gathered there. ‘‘The notice aims at discouraging all sorts of religious gatherings,” Pal told NDTV. Mualana Nauman, who has been offering namaz in the park for the last five years, told the TV channel that on December 14 the police told him of the diktat.
Yet Nauman and his friend were arrested four days later, even though they had followed the directive, he claims.Earlier this year, rightwing organisations had disrupted namaz at several places in Gurgaon. The activists had alleged that some people were trying to grab land and amalgamate it with a mosque. Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar had also said it wasn’t right to pray in open spaces. But clarified he wasn’t trying to stop anyone from offering prayers.
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Tuesday slammed Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath over his ‘no namaz in Noida parks’ order, saying he has created an unsettling situation in the state. He added that the Noida police advisory was just one example of Adityanath’s poor governance. The state unit of the BJP, however, came to Aditya-nath’s defence. UP BJP spokesperson Dr Chandra-mohan said that the issue should not be politicised.
The local administration has taken this decision after complaints from locals. This is being done to avoid law and order issues. Since we have come to power, no riots have taken place. We have worked for the development of people belonging to every section of society,” he said, reports India Today.com