Noida (Uttar Pradesh) A fatwa by Noida Police under Yogi Adityanath government created furore among Muslim employees of different multinational companies when a notice has been issued to multinational companies in Sector-58 to direct their employees not to offer Friday prayers in a community park.
“Public spaces such as parks can’t be used for religious activities” the Noida police in a notice directed to several multinational companies including HCL. The notice also warns the companies that they will be held liable for any violation by their employees.
The companies, which have sought a meeting with senior police officers for clarification, also plan to approach the court against the order, NDTV confirmed with sources.
Although the Noida police trying to defend after the notice created furore, saying the notice is not religion-specific, it is an obvious attempt to target Muslim employees working in a large number in different companies here.
According to media reports, a few Hindu groups had complained to the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Noida claiming that offering namaz in the open “disrupts harmony” in the area. After that 58 police stations were instructed to notify these companies. Last week, at least 12 MNCs, including HCL, got the notice that specifically said “nobody is allowed offer Friday prayers in the park”.
“It has been observed that some Muslim employees of your company go to Sector-58 park to offer namaz on Fridays. Please tell them not to do so. And if they still go to the park to offer prayers, then the companies will be held responsible for the violation,” the order said.
However, Ajay Pal, SSP Noida, said the notice doesn’t target any particular religion.
“Some people had sought permission to offer prayers in a park in Sector-58, but they weren’t allowed by the city magistrate. And still a lot of people gathered there. The notice aims to discourage all sorts of religious gatherings,” SSP said.
According to a NDTV report, Maulana Nauman and Adit Rasheed were arrested on December 18 after the notice was issued even they had followed thedirection. Both got bail on December 22.
“On December 14, the police told him and others not to offer namaz in Sector-58 park. But Nauman and his friend were arrested four days later even though they had followed the direction,” NDTV quoted Maulana Nauman who has been offering namaz in Sector-58 park for the last five years as saying.
“My friend Adil Rasheed and I were arrested on December 18 for disrupting peace and harmony, the police told us. We got bail on December 22,” he added.
Earlier this year, right-wing organisations had disrupted namaz at several places in Gurgaon. The activists alleged that some people were trying to grab land in a bid to merge it with a mosque.
Haryana Chief Minister 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.
“If there is shortage of places for offering namaz, it should be done in personal spaces, inside homes,” Mr Khattar added.