“The order regarding prior approval for offering Friday namaaz at public parks and warning of strict action on firms whose employees are found flouting is improper and arbitrary,” the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief said in a release here.
“If the Yogi Adityanath government in the state has any such policy of banning religious activities at public places, why is it not being implemented on people belonging to all religions and in all the districts of the state without any discrimination,” she added.
The station house officer (SHO) of Noida’s Sector 58 police station Pankaj Rai had earlier this month sent notices to 23 private firms asking them to stop their Muslim employees from offering Friday prayers at a local park citing a 2009 Supreme Court order which prohibits religious gatherings at public places.
However, the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister claimed that if prayers were being offered in the park since 2013, what was the logic behind banning them ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
“It is most natural that questions will be raised on the BJP government’s policy and intentions as elections approach,” she said.
“This also strengthens the doubt that the BJP regime wants to divert attention from its failures and shortcomings by creating such religious controversies,” she added.
It only highlights the frustration of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders following their defeat in the resent Assembly elections, she said further.
The Noida Police had issued the order following a complaint by the residents of Bishanpura village, under the Sector 58 police station limits, which is close to the park.
According to the complaint, despite the district magistrate rejecting the companies’ plea seeking permission to offer prayers at the ground, the employees were breaching the order.
The SHO of the Sector 58 Police Station had also said in the order that the companies would be held responsible if they failed to prevent their Muslim employees from offering namaaz at the ground.
However, District Magistrate Brajesh Narain Singh Tuesday clarified that no companies would be held responsible for their employees’ personal activities, as was mentioned in the police notes and that Rai was only carrying out his responsibilities.
Defending the directive, the Noida Police also said that the order was issued amid concerns that communal harmony could be disturbed, especially ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.