No non-Muslims offered namaz in Lucknow’s Lulu mall, clarify police

‘We will soon come out with details of persons who offered namaz on premises’ 

July 19, 2022 03:30 am | Updated 12:46 pm IST - GHAZIABAD

Notices banning religious prayers are placed  in the atrium of LuLu Mall in Lucknow.

Notices banning religious prayers are placed in the atrium of LuLu Mall in Lucknow. | Photo Credit: File Photo

The Lucknow Police on Monday denied media reports that the eight persons, who were caught on camera offering namaz in Lulu Mall on July 12 were non-Muslims.

A press note issued by the Lucknow Commissionaire said the four persons — Saroj Nath Yogi, Krishna Kumar Pathak, Gaurav Goswami and Arshad Ali — arrested on July 15 were those who were trying to perform religious rituals after the incident (July 12) in order to disturb communal harmony.

Saroj, Krishna, and Gaurav were allegedly trying to perform a puja while Arshad was allegedly trying to offer namaz on the premises. Sources said the eight people who allegedly offered namaz on July 12 were yet to be traced.

The misleading news on social media names three out of the four people arrested on July 15, the note said.

Apart from these four, 16 persons were booked on July 16 for disturbing law and order and two others were taken into custody for reciting Hanuman Chalisa and raising slogans to disturb the harmony.

Rajesh Shrivastava, the Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police, said the investigation was still on and the police were scanning the CCTV in the mall for footage of the incident. “I can’t comment on the news reports appearing in the media outlets but the investigation is on and we would soon come out with details of the persons who offered namaz on the premises,” the officer told The Hindu.

Protests held

The mall, which is run by prominent UAE-based businessman Yusuf Ali MA, was inaugurated by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath last week. Two days after the event, eight persons allegedly offered namaz on the premises, whose video went viral on July 13.

It led to protests by Hindutva organisations which even targeted the CM for allowing a Muslim-owned organisation to start a business in the city. They alleged that 80% of the workforce would be drawn from the minority community.

Responding to the charges the mall management which had lodged an FIR against unidentified persons for offering namaz on the premises, issued a new statement saying that 80% of its workforce comprises Hindus while the rest belong to other religions.

“We hire people on the basis of merit and not on the basis of their religious and caste affiliations. It is sad that a reputed organisation is being targeted by some people for their vested interests,” said Jaykumar Gangadhar, regional director of Lulu India Shopping Malls Private Limited.

In the statement, Mr. Gangadhar said nobody was allowed to practise religious rituals on the premises.

“The mall management has lodged an FIR against those who tried to offer namaz. We request everybody to allow us to do our business peacefully,” the statement said.

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