A row erupted in a Noida housing society on Monday evening after an argument over namaz being offered inside the society’s commercial complex.
The tension was defused after the Muslim residents decided not to offer prayers in the area, a housing society official said. A senior police officer said that the situation had been brought under control and additional force had been deployed in the area as a precautionary measure.
Muslim residents of Supertech Ecovillage-2 housing society said they had been offering taraweeh prayers at a half-constructed, abandoned space on the third floor of the shopping complex for three to four years. “Nobody ever had a problem and we never disturbed anyone. But this time, some men came to the area with a loudspeaker and started reciting Hanuman Chalisa,” said Inam Khan, 46, a society resident.
“We had made arrangements to offer our prayers only after seeking permission from the society management and had put a carpet, some lights and curtains in the area. We didn’t know it would irk some people,” he said.
Ravi Sharma, 39, a society resident and a Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader, said, “We noticed that for the last three-four days, some outsiders were coming here to offer namaz. We asked the management to put a stop to it. When no action was taken, we protested by reciting Hanuman Chalisa.”
Javed Khan, the society’s chief estate manager, said, “The Muslim residents had sought permission to offer prayers, so we gave them an empty area in the supermart, which has a separate gate and is practically outside the society. After discussions, the Muslims decided not to offer namaz there and we removed the tent.”
A female resident of the society, who did not wish to be named, said most people had no problem with namaz being offered in the area. “I was there when this happened. Apart from some men, most of us were okay with it.”