UP firms liable if staff offers namaz in public

Police defended move saying communal harmony could be disturbed.

Noida: The Uttar Pradesh police have asked the companies and offices in Noida Sector-58 to direct their employees not to offer Friday Namaz (prayers) in public spaces including community parks.

The notice issued last week by the Sector-58 police station also warned the firms operating in the industrial park that they will be held liable for any violation by their Muslim employees who were seen offering namaz in open public spaces.

“We want to inform you that there is no permission from the administration to conduct any kind of religious activity including Namaz offered on Friday in the authority park in Sector 58. It has been often seen that the Muslim workers of your company congregate in the park to offer Namaz and I, the SHO, have told the group to not hold prayers there. Also, their plea to the city magistrate has not received any permission to do so,” the order said.

“Thus, it is expected from you (the companies) that you at your level inform your Muslim employees to not come to the park to offer Namaz. If employees of your company come to the park, it will be assumed that you have not informed your employees and your company will be held liable,” the police notice further read.

The Muslim employees in the IT and services hub of Noida have been asked to offer Friday prayers during work hours in mosques, eidgahs or inside the premises of the company.

According to reports, companies in Sector-58 sought a meeting with senior Noida cops in order to get clarity on the matter.

The notice imposing restrictions created furore after which the Noida police defended it saying that communal harmony could be disturbed, especially in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The Noida Police has defended the move citing concerns that communal harmony could be disturbed, especially in the run-up to the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

“Yes, we have sent notices to companies in our area after complaints regarding a large number of people offering Namaz in the afternoon especially on Fridays. Since most people offering prayers are employees in companies nearby, we have sent notices to those companies to ask their employees to either offer Namaz in a Masjid, Eidgah or within the office compound on the roof etc,” said Pankaj Rai, SHO of the Sector 58 police station, from where the initial round of notices were issued.

According to Rai, an increasing number of people offering payers had triggered the notices.

“Earlier only around 10-15 people assembled in the parks to offer Friday prayers. However, over the last few weeks, the numbers have risen significantly. Over the last couple of weeks, around 500-600 people assembled in the afternoon to offer Namaz and we got several complaints regarding such assembly of people in the public park,” he said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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