Skip to main content
xYOU DESERVE INDEPENDENT, CRITICAL MEDIA. We want readers like you. Support independent critical media.

UP: Fear Among Muslims After Police Book over 1,800 People in Kanpur for Offering Eid Namaz on Road

Locals said they were being targeted unnecessarily on the basis of religion.

Image for representational purpose. Credit: India TV

Lucknow: There is a sense of anger and outrage in Uttar Pradesh's Kanpur as police have registered a First Information Reports (FIR) against more than 1,800 unknown persons at three different police stations for offering Eid namaz (prayers) on the road without permission on Eid last week.

Locals said they were being targeted unnecessarily on the basis of religion. Several individuals, who may not have been aware that it may not be permissible to offer Eid namaz on the road, spread their prayer mats on the street after being unable to find space inside the Eidgah premises, according to locals.

"It is unfortunate that the case is not registered for offering namaz on the road, but for obstructing public service, which is a serious offence and they have invoked Section 2 of the Epidemic Act. This is the mindset of our government, on which such enthusiastic policemen are working. People in Moradabad were booked for offering Taraweeh in Ramzan inside their homes. This is how the police are targeting specific communities," a local Muslim scholar told NewsClick.

NewsClick spoke to at least a dozen locals who are afraid of police action. They said, "Innocent Muslims will be picked or face interrogation without verifying their identities."

Police have alleged that despite the ban, namaz was offered on the road outside Jajmau Eidgah, Babupurwa Eidgah and Badi Eidgah in Benajhabar in the city on April 22.

According to the FIRs accessed by NewsClick, 300 worshippers were booked at Jajmau police station, 50 at Babupurwa police station and nearly 1,500 at Bajaria police station.

Begumpurwa police outpost in-charge Brijesh Kumar, said, "A meeting with peace committee and district administration was held before Eid festival where committee members were asked to ensure that people do not offer namaz on roads and offer it inside the Eidgah and the local mosques," he said.

"It was decided during the meeting that if any person misses namaz due to overcrowding, in that case, arrangements will be made by the police to facilitate it in the second shift but the rule of law was not abided by the worshippers," he told NewsClick.

On April 22, at around 8 am, just prior to the Eid prayer, a “mob suddenly gathered in front of the Eidgah”. Despite the blanket ban, the worshippers started offering namaz on the roads by using prayer mats, according to Kumar.

"We tried to stop them for not offering namaz on the road but they turned a deaf ear," he alleged.

Similarly, an FIR was registered at Bajaria police station against 1,500 people including the Eidgah Committee members for offering namaz on the road despite the ban in Marqazi Eidgah in Benajhabar area. It was said that even after being prevented by the policemen, people offered namaz by sitting on the road causing traffic snarls in the area.

Senior sub-inspector of police of Bajaria police station Omveer Singh said, "A case has been filed against 1,500 unknown people, including Eidgah Committee (which manages the Eidgah) members."

Joint Commissioner of Police Anand Prakash Tiwari told NewsClick, "There was a ban on offering Namaz on the road, yet some people did so. People offering namaz on the road will be identified on the basis of video after which legal action will be initiated against them."

A case has been filed under Sections 186 (obstructing government work), 188 (gathering crowd in violation of Section 144), 283 (blocking the way by gathering crowd), 341 (wrongful obstruction) of IPC against the worshippers and Eidgah committee members. "We are in the process of identifying the violators with the help of CCTV footage. Once their identification is done, further action would be taken as per the law," the commissioner said further.

Around 200 to 300 unknown people were booked for the same in the Jajmau area, police outpost in-charge Raj Bahadur Singh told reporters. He said that a case was registered against Eidgah Jajmau Committee members along with 200 to 300 unknown worshippers for offering namaz on the road.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Suleman, a founding member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, speaking to NewsClick said, "How did offering Namaz on the road lead to unrest? How has 341 (wrongful obstruction) of IPC been invoked by praying on the road? The intention of the government is clear, which is to harass one community. When people were not spared for offering tarweed at home during Ramadan, then how will they tolerate Eid prayer for five minutes maximum on the roads?"

This is the second such incident where people were booked for offering namaz on Eid on the road.

Over 250 people, along with the Intezamia Committee have been booked in Hapur for offering namaaz on the road outside the Eidgah premises allegedly without police 'permission' on the occasion of Eid last Saturday, NewsClick has reported earlier.

However, 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.

This comes after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath issued an order banning religious programmes on the road if traffic is obstructed as some Hindu organisations protested against namaaz on roads.


NewsClick has learnt that a similar FIR has been filed against worshippers in Aligarh and Baghpat for offering namaz on the road.

In Baghpat, FIR has been registered against at least dozens of people including Shahr Imam (head religious leader). The FIR has been registered at Barot Kotwali under sections 188, 171H, 341, 353 of IPC and Section 123A of the Public Act.

The FIR includes city Imam Maulana Arif Ul Haq, Chhaprauli MLA Dr Ajay Tomar, RLD leader Ashwani Tomar, Gaurav, Irfan Malik, Vishwas Chaudhary, Mukesh Upadhyay along with Isral alias Guddu and an unknown person.

Similarly, people in Aligarh have been booked for offering namaz on the road. However, the number of worshippers booked was not confirmed.

Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.

Subscribe Newsclick On Telegram