There have been incidents of Muslims offering Namaz on streets from different states of the country. Vishwa Hindu Parishad has been demanding action against such assembly as it causes inconvenience and is often linked with nefarious agendas. Well, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, a similar gathering was reported in Hapur district.
The Hapur police have filed a case against as many as 250 unidentified people and members of the Intazamiya committee for illegally gathering on streets in the name of offering Namaz. They all have been booked under relevant sections of the IPC
A First Information Report (number–282/2023) was registered at the Hapur Nagar police station of the Hapur district on April 23.
As per the FIR, the festival of Eid-al-Fitr was observed on April 22 and ahead of the festival, a peace committee meeting was called in the town. The religious representatives were informed that the gatherings for Namaz will be limited to the Idgah and Mosques only, no such gathering will be allowed on the streets.
Even after the meeting, the security forces deployed around the Mosques and Idgah told the people not to assemble on the streets for offering prayers. It was made very clear that in case of congestion, Namaz will be arranged in shifts and Namazis will be shifted to vacant Mosques in the city.
However, around 7:50 pm some people started sitting on the streets to offer Namaz, they were asked to vacate the roads but they shifted to the adjacent Kabristan (crematory) and soon 200 to 250 people assembled there to offer Namaz. The Namazis disrupting traffic and breaching section 144 of the CrPC also include members of the Intazamiya committee. They all have been named in the FIR.
As per the complaint they all have been booked under IPC sections 186 (obstructing a public servant from discharging his duty), 188 (disobedience causing danger to human life), 283 (causing obstruction and danger), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty).
The complaint has been registered by Sub-Inspector Satyaveer Singh, deployed at the Hapur police station.
The sections in which the police have registered the case have a provision of punishment of up to seven years. Police can also arrest the accused as per the FIR.
The Hapur police station in charge told the media that a video recording was done of people offering Eid prayers sitting on the road. On the basis of this, they will be identified. After which legal action will be taken against them.
Angered by the police action, the members of the Intazamiya committee have called a meeting. Dignitaries from religious leaders to Muslim society participated in the meeting. After this, people also protested against the police.
Cases from the past
In August 2022, the Moradabad police lodged an FIR against 25 people after they offered namaz at an open space that, they claimed, was the private property of some of them.
A case was registered under Indian Penal Code section 505 (public mischief) at the Chajlait Police Station. Namaz was being offered at the open space in Uttar Pradesh’s Dellepur village despite a police warning.
Similarly, in April 2022, the Agra police registered FIR against three named and 150 unknown persons for offering ‘tarawih namaz’ on a public road.
The case was registered under section 188 (disobeying a public order), and 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups) of the Indian Penal Code and section 3 and section 5 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984.
In June 2022, Four men were arrested for offering namaz in Lucknow’s newly opened LuLu Mall without authorisation. Those arrested were identified as Mohammed Rehan of Lucknow, Atif Khan of Mohammadi in Lakhimpur Kheri district and two brothers, Mohammed Lokman Ali and Mohammed Noman Ali, of Laharpur, Sitapur.
The mall management filed an FIR against all the accused under sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 295A (deliberate act intended to outrage religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).