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In UP, 26 booked for ‘offering namaz’ at home; Omar Abdullah, Owaisi react

Updated on Aug 29, 2022 09:52 PM IST

In the incident, which took place on August 24, a large number of people were allegedly assembled to offer namaz in a region in Chhajlet, news agency ANI reported.

Former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah.
By | Reported by S Raju | Edited by Aniruddha Dhar

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday sharply reacted after 26 people were booked for holding a “mass gathering to offer namaz” in a space without prior permission from local authorities and allegedly against the neighbours’ wishes at a village in Chhajlet area of Uttar Pradesh's Moradabad district.

A case under Section 505(2) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for public mischief has been slapped on 26 persons, of whom 16 are named while the remaining 10 remain unknown. No arrest has been made so far, while an investigation into the case is currently underway.

In the incident, which took place on August 24, a large number of people were allegedly assembled to offer namaz in a region in Chhajlet, news agency ANI reported.

On August 27, Moradabad SP SK Meena said there was no mosque in the area but two houses. “After receiving a complaint, a case has been registered against the owners of both houses; both are absconding,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.

The complaint reportedly came from neighbours who said those offering the namaz did not have prior notice for the event.

Taking to Twitter, Abdullah said, “I’m sure if one of the neighbours had a hawan with 26 friends and relatives that would be perfectly acceptable. It’s not the “mass gathering” that is the problem, it’s the offering of namaz.”

Owaisi also slammed the incident, saying it looks like there is a process to trample Muslims from all corners. Calling it “injustice”, the AIMIM chief asked “what is the issue if one offers namaz at his home?”

“Offering namaz on the road is a problem, and now doing so inside one's own home has also become objectionable? Does one go and tell people of other religions not to worship their deities? … The Supreme Court has said that namaz can be offered anywhere,” Owaisi said during a press conference that he held earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, Wahid Saifi, who has been named in the FIR, told PTI that they are legal owners of the land where namaz was being offered “frequently since Independence”.

“But recently, some miscreants, claiming themselves to be Bajrang Dal activists, objected to it claiming it was a new practice,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.

Saifi said that the activists complained to police on June 3, but the case was filed on August 24.

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