In a futile attempt, Namazis who assembled outside Chowki Chouraha Masjid in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, to offer Friday Namaz on the road, agitated against the Uttar Pradesh police but remained unsuccessful as the UP police determined to follow decree, refrained the mob from offering Namaz on the road, reports Dainik Jagran.
The UP police acted after receiving a complaint that the traffic outside the Masjid was being hampered as a group of Namazis assembled outside the Masjid and laid mats on the road to offer Namaz on June 7.
The police then reached the spot to disperse the crowd. When they saw the crowd swelling, the UP police too sprung into action and immediately called for extra force to deal with the mob.
Ultimately, the police managed to dissipate the crowd. However, a handful of people were allowed to offer Namaz outside the Masjid but the police made sure that the traffic was not disrupted.
Though according to the Dainik Jagran’ report the brawl lasted for three hours, when Opindia approached the Bareilly police they confirmed that the incident did occur but maintained that the police came to a settlement with the crowd in an hour or so and they agreed not to block the roads and disturb the traffic in the area.
Moreover, according to Dainik Jagran, since the Uttar Pradesh Police had faced a similar situation last week, this Friday they were well prepared in advance. They had called the Masjid’ Imam on Friday morning and cautioned him not to allow Namazis to encroach the road. They had also drawn a line in front of the Mosque barring the crowd to cross the line.
Despite the warning, the Namazis who started assembling outside the mosque at 1.30 in the afternoon began to lay mats outside the mosque encroaching beyond the permitted area. The police, however, intervened and removed the mats and stopped the Namazis from offering prayers on the road.
Some Masjid authorities approached inspector Pankaj Verma with a complaint against the police authorities. However, Verma remained firm on his decision and refused to entertain the complaint.
Last year the Madras High Court had ruled that public places cannot be encroached upon for the purpose of offering prayers. A bench of Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice Krishnan Ramasamy had on July 18, 2018, observed that everyone is entitled by law to pray in a place of worship or their residence, but they cannot do so in a public space which will cause a nuisance to the general public.
Moreover, after this ruling, the Noida police had also in December 2018 issued an advisory notice to companies in sector 58, asking their administrations to dissuade their employees from visiting nearby parks for offering namaz.
The order issued by the Noida police to the companies cited the district magistrate’s order that ‘No religious activities’ including namaz can be offered in the authority parks. The police also added that namaz should be offered in Mosques and Idgahs.