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New Delhi: Moradabad police said it has ‘expunged’ the case against 26 persons, who were booked in connection with the “public offering of namaz”, due to lack of any merit in the allegations.
Senior superintendent of police, Hemant Kutiyal, told Dainik Bhaskar that the case is being cancelled because the allegations have not been proven in the investigation.
The move comes within a day of the news break and amid criticism from several politicians.
One of the people named in the FIR told news agency PTI that the complaint was lodged on June 3. The first information report (FIR) was filed on August 24 on the complaint of one Chandrapal Singh, a resident of Dulhepur village of Chhajlet area, which falls under Moradabad district.
The FIR was registered against 16 identified and 10 unidentified persons under Indian Penal Code section 505 (statement conducing to public mischief) at the Chajlait police station.
The Wire has seen a copy of the FIR which states that a row over “public offering of namaz” had caused tensions in the village previously, after which an agreement was made in the presence of the police that prayers will not be offered.
However, the complainant had said that despite the agreement, namaz prayers were being offered across multiple houses. The FIR further said that the prayers were creating an atmosphere of “hatred, hostility and inhumanity”.
Although the FIR says “public offering of namaz”, reports say that people were praying inside their homes. They had also called a maulvi, according to Dainik Bhaskar.
It’s important to note here that the village does not even have a mosque, NDTV reported. Despite that, some residents have been objecting to gatherings for namaz, even if inside homes.
SP (Rural), Moradabad, Sandeep Kumar had told the Times of India, “Scores of people assembled at the house of two local villagers on August 24 without any notice and offered prayers. They had been cautioned in the past not to indulge in encouraging such a practice at home, following objections from neighbours.”
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah had slammed the authorities for registration of the case, saying “the problem was not with mass gathering but offering namaz”.
“I’m sure if one of the neighbours had a hawan with 26 friends and relatives that would be perfectly acceptable. It’s not the mass gathering that is the problem, it’s the offering of namaz,” he had tweeted.
I’m sure if one of the neighbours had a hawan with 26 friends & relatives that would be perfectly acceptable. It’s not the “mass gathering” that is the problem, it’s the offering of namaz. https://t.co/DUrI1EqVlI
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) August 29, 2022
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen MP Asaduddin Owaisi said that objection to offering namaz at home is injustice. “Supreme Court has said that namaz can be offered anywhere. Why is there an objection to offering namaz at home? This is injustice,” he had told ANI.
Right-wing groups had reportedly staged protests and demanded action after videos of the namaz gathering held in Dulhepur village went viral on social media.