Namaz row: Indian mall bars people from offering religious prayers on premises

New DelhiEdited By: C KrishnasaiUpdated: Jul 16, 2022, 02:24 PM IST


Story highlights

On Friday, LuLu Mall put up notice boards at several places asking visitors not to use their complex for religious purposes

A mall in India’s northern Lucknow city has barred people from offering religious prayers after a controversial video of people offering namaz inside the newly inaugurated complex went viral. Several right-wing organisations objected to it, saying that they would also recite the hymns of Hindu God Hanuman.

On Friday, LuLu Mall in the Uttar Pradesh state put up notice boards at several places asking visitors not to use their complex for religious purposes. The police have booked a group of unidentified people for allegedly offering namaz. They have been charged for promoting enmity between different groups and intending to outrage religious feelings.

The case was registered on the complaint of the Lulu Mall representatives, who claimed that the people seen in the video were not their staff members, reports PTI news agency.

The situation turned tense after a right-wing group, Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha, threatened to march inside the mall to recite the Hindu hymns. Before the situation could go out of hand, police were deployed to the site and a curfew under IPC Section 144 was imposed on the area.

On Saturday, three people were detained for allegedly attempting to recite Sundarkand on the mall premises. Police said that the three arrested belonged to Hindu Samaj Party. They were detained at the mall’s entry gate.

The general manager of the mall, Sameer Verma, released a statement saying, "Lulu Mall respects all religions. Any kind of religious work or prayer is not permitted here. We train our floor staff and security staff to keep an eye on such activities."

The mall was inaugurated on Sunday by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and has been opened by Abu Dhabi-based Lulu Group, led by Indian-origin billionaire Yussuf Ali M A.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) Gopal Krishna Choudhary was quoted as saying, "An FIR under IPC Sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 295-A (deliberate act intended to outrage religious feelings) was lodged on Thursday against unidentified persons. The matter is being investigated."

(With inputs from agencies)