UP: About 250 Unknown Persons, Including Intezamia Committee, Booked in Hapur for Eid Namaz on Road
Lucknow: Over 250 people, along with Intezamia Committee (which manages the Idgah) have been booked in Hapur for offering namaaz (prayers) on the road outside the Idgah premises allegedly without police 'permission' on the occasion of Eid last Saturday. This comes days after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath issued an order banning religious programmes on the road if traffic is obstructed after some Hindu organisations protested against namaaz on roads.
A case has been registered under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for violating Section 144, the police said.
Local residents claimed they had been "victimised" by the police and members of a Right-wing group, who had “blatant disregard” for the Constitution which gives everyone the freedom to worship.
According to CO Hapur Satyaveer Singh, they had issued guidelines regarding Eid prayers after conducting a meeting with the peace committee.
"An instruction regarding Eid prayer was given that namaaz should be held in Idgah premises and if someone is not able to offer namaaz in Idgah due to overcrowding, then special arrangements will be made. As soon as the namaaz started at around 7:30 a.m on Eid, a large number of people started offering prayers on the streets outside the Idgah, which is a violation of Section 144. When the police removed them from the road, they started offering prayers in the graveyard and an empty plot near Idgah,” Singh told reporters.
City Kotwali in-charge, Inspector Sanjay Pandey, told local reporters that a case had been filed against 250 unknown people, including members of the Intezamia Committee, under Sections 186, 188, 283, 341 and 353 of Indian Penal Code (IPC). A video of people offering Eid namaaz on the road was also recorded by the police. People will be identified on the basis of video after which legal action will be taken against them, Pandey added.
Responding to the incident and the FIR, a local resident, on the condition of anonymity, told NewsClick, "It so happened that about 50-70 people came late for the Eid prayers and on not finding space in the Idgah, they offered the namaz on the street. I was already inside and did not know about them praying outside,” he said.
According to the local resident, the Idgah has a capacity to accommodate 50,000 people and due to Eid people from rural areas too came to offer prayer there. “After finding no space inside the Idgah, they started praying on the road," he added.
A member of the Idgah Intezamia Committee, who is among those who have been booked, told NewsClick, "We have nine members in the Intezamia Committee. We had multiple rounds of meetings with the district administration regarding Eid prayers and had ensured them that the guidelines issued by the administration will be followed. On the day of Eid in Hapur, namaaz used to be held in six mosques, but considering Section 144, we included10 more mosques this time, so that people do not offer namaaz on the street. But when we began offering namaaz, a mob suddenly joined fearing they might miss the Eid prayer if they did not join the Idgah prayer. We could not stop them since we already had niyah for namaaz and could not break the prayer in between," he said.
The committee member added, "We haven't not violated whatever Sections have been imposed on us, including 353 of IPC. There was no violence and even though it was a peaceful Eid, the police clicked out pictures and is booking us under different Sections of IPC. This is strange. We don't understand at whose behest this was done but we have been aflsely implicated," he alleged.
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