Uttar Pradesh Police served notices on 10 Muslims under CrPC 107/116 (a preventive measure to preempt a breach of peace) and directed a Muslim family to hold any group prayers after Bajrang Dal protested against the group of Muslims offering prayers at a private warehouse in Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad on Saturday.
Police also asked the members of the Muslim community why should not they pay Rs 5 lakh each in penalty for “disturbing peace” in the area.
On Saturday, Bajrang Dal state president Rohan Saxena and along with a group of Hindu men barged into the godown of a Muslim mannamed Zakir Hussain in Moradabad’s Lajpat Nagar and stopped Taraweeh, a congregational prayer on Ramadan nights.
In a video that went viral on the internet, Saxena said Hussain started a “new tradition” by holding prayer meetings at his home and he will not allow it. He warned that if the police fail to file a first information report, the Bajarang Dal will hold an agitation.
Though the police sent notice to Muslims, Moradabad SSP Hemraj Meena also sent out a message to people at large that no person has the right to interfere in the religious affairs of others. “If a person is offering Namaz, Taraweeh, or doing Pooja Paath, then some other party should have no objection to that. If someone indulges in such activities, then strict action shall be taken against them,” he said.
When the cops reached the spot after receiving information about Hindutva protests against Namaz at the private place in the “Hindu-dominated/mixed population area,” cops told Muslims there to do such group programmes in “pre-marked religious places” as per tradition or individually at their homes.
The owner of the property, Hussain, is said to have given in writing to police that he would not conduct such programmes at his home henceforth.
In August last year, 26 Muslims were booked for Namaz at the houses of Two Muslim men in Moradabad, but the charges were later dropped.
UP Police withdrew the FIR after they found the complaint to be “incorrect.” The Moradabad Police said that the “video” provided by the main complainant Chandra Pal Singh is “fudged.” Singh was also a member of the Bajrang Dal.
In another incident, a video of Muslim men offering namaz at the Lulu mall was shared widely by Hindu militant groups on social media. The Hindu nationalist social media handles widely posted Islamophobic comments against the Muslims who offered Namaz and the mall run by MA Yusuf Ali, one of India’s richest Muslims.
The Lucknow Police later filed a case against unknown persons who offered namaz at the city’s mall on July 12, 2022.