Namaz disrupted after ‘Hindu residents’ in Noida raise objections

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Muslims in a housing society in Greater Noida could not offer namaz inside the premises after a group of Hindu residents objected to the prayer meeting earlier this week, The Hindu reported on Wednesday.

Around 8.30 pm on Monday, nearly 40 Muslim residents of Eco Village II had gathered in a vacant room in a market space inside the residential society, the police told The Indian Express.

A ruckus broke out after some Hindu residents objected to the prayer meeting. The situation came under control after police arrived and the Muslims decided not to offer prayers there. A police team has been deployed in the area.

Inam Khan, a resident of the housing complex, said that Muslims have been offering prayers inside the half-constructed room for the last three to four years.

“Nobody ever had a problem and we never disturbed anyone,” he told The Hindu. “But this time, some men came to the area with a loudspeaker and started reciting Hanuman Chalisa.”

Khan also told the newspaper that he and others had put a carpet, some lights and a curtain inside the room after taking permission from the society management.

Meanwhile, the police said that Hindus residents of the complex raised objections as six or seven Muslims from other societies had come to Eco Village II to offer prayers.

“On this objection, the Muslim community decided that namaz will not be offered at that place,” the police told The Indian Express. “Both sides agreed to this. Peace and order has been restored at the spot.”

In a separate incident, Muslim residents of Supertech Ecociti in Noida Sector 137 have alleged that they were barred from offering namaz on March 24 evening.

One of the Muslim residents told The Indian Express that permission was taken from the society management for religious gatherings of 35-50 people during the month of Ramzan.

“That day, there were around 30 people in the hall including women and children,” the resident said. “Suddenly, 8-10 people from the society came and asked us to stop. Then a police officer came and said we will have to take permission from police. We will do that as well, but the bigger concern is that where are we heading?”

On Satuday, members of Hindutva organisation Bajrang Dal had stopped Muslims from holding a prayer meeting during Ramzan inside a warehouse in Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad city.

Over the last few years, there have been a number of instances of Muslims being arrested or harassed for praying in public. Most of the incidents have been reported in Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states and the police have taken action after protests by Hindutva organisations.

The arrests have been made under various charges like promoting enmity, outraging religious feelings and causing public mischief. However, legal experts have told Scroll that arresting people for offering prayers in public is not backed by the Indian law.

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