Opinions

From Showering flowers to Banning Namaz - Multiple faces of Uttar Pradesh Police

It was a lovely Christmas morning but a news on the front page ruined it. After Gurgaon, it was now Noida's turn to hog the limelight for a controversy surrounding Friday namaz being offered in public places.

In a strange and unprecedented move, Noida police authorities issued notices to companies operating in the area asking them to stop their employees from offering the Friday prayers in open areas like parks or open ground, else they will be held liable for violation. The reason given behind the notice was that such gatherings on weekly basis may disturb communal harmony, especially in the event of upcoming general elections. 

It seems CM Yogi's police missed to notice that there is a genuine dearth of mosques in Noida, which is the sole reason for people gathering in open spaces on Fridays; else nobody wants to stand barefoot under 40-45 degree temperature or during shivering cold, to offer namaz. There is nothing new in it and same has been followed for years. And the whole exercise hardly takes couple half an hour or so including preparation time (actual prayer only takes about 10 minutes). Except Friday noon prayers, there is not a single trace of namaz being offered in open spaces anywhere. As a matter of fact, if one takes even a casual round of Noida, it will be difficult not to notice many religious arrangements on public spaces, many of them even permanent.

I personally believe that religion is a private matter and should not cause disturbance to others but considering that religion is also an integral part of Indians, use of public spaces is common for religious activities, so better to regulate all and not pinpoint at one to gain sympathy and polarize communities.

It is quite strange that Police directly wrote to owners of the companies rather than discussing the matter with Namaz-goers to find an amicable solution and it is the same police force which was involved in showering flowers on the kanwanriya yartis. If one take a closer look at the other aspects of the order, it indirectly states that companies should think twice before hiring Muslim employees. This order has put the companies in a catch 22 situation as it will be difficult for them to stop their employees from offering Namaz or providing an in-house facility for them. On other hand, the will face legal action if their employees offer Namaz in public spaces.

Such an ill-thought-out and unnecessary order will create mistrust between employees and employers. This will create an atmosphere of confusion which is not conducive for production and in turn for economic growth.

It seems that the reason which state authorities have provided as justification for the order is true but in reverse sense. They want to create a situation which will create confrontation and help in polarizing votes for political gain.

I hope that Mr. CM will forget his past of a firebrand preacher and will stand above vote bank politics and issue a directive to repeal the order which has communal overtones. Or should I have another reason to believe that this government has different yardsticks for different communities.

Dr. S. Zeyaul Abrar Husain is a research scientist, currently working in a multinational company. He writes about social and political issues in country on various platforms like Milli Gazette, Qaumi Awaaz, Democracia.in, Hastakshep.com etc.

zeyaulabrar#yahoo.co.in

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