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Eight street vendors held in Haridwar for offering namaz in public, released

Eight street vendors were arrested by the Haridwar police on Thursday for offering namaz at a public place. Those arrested were residents of Jwalapur area and they were offering namaz at a weekly market in Shivalik Nagar. They were released a few hours later.

According to reports, the vendors used to sell vegetables in the local market that falls under the Ranipur police station limits. The arrest came after a few locals complained to the police that people were offering namaz in public. The complainants also showed videos and pictures of the vendors offering namaz on the basis of which they were identified.

The police maintained that those arrested offered namaz at a public place without permission. They were booked under Section 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) for disturbing peace.

Niharika Semwal, deputy SP, Sadar area, told The Hindu that the action was “precautionary” as the police wanted to ensure there was no tension in the area, which was already very communally sensitive. “Too many communal controversies are happening around these days. Haridwar is already witnessing Kanwar Yatra and we didn’t wanted any untoward incident to happen here. So, as a precaution, we booked these people and they were released within hours. The action was just for precaution,” said Ms. Semwal.

Rajeev Sharma, chairman of the Shivalik Nagar civic body, said the weekly market was “illegal”. “Most of the vendors sell substandard products. They pass lewd comments at girls who cross the market area. Even after several complaints, this market wasn’t shifted from this place,” he added.

Qazi Muhammad Nizamuddin, an office-bearer of the All India Congress Committee, Manglaur constituency, feels that arresting the Muslims for just offering namaz is unjust. “The BJP has nothing to do except playing dirty politics. They did the same thing at the Lulu Mall in Lucknow. Everyone knows that the BJP lost majority of seats in Haridwar in the recent Assembly election. This is a location they cannot afford to lose once again. This is why they are opting for all ways to divert attention from real issues and create communal problems,” he added.

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Printable version | Aug 20, 2022 2:19:15 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/eight-street-vendors-held-in-haridwar-for-offering-namaz-in-public-released/article65671463.ece