Noida Namaz Row: Three Private Companies Offer Space To Muslim Employees For Friday Prayer
After the Noida police, on December 21, banned any religious activities including Muslims working in Noida sector 58 from offering Namaz at a public park, three private companies in the area opened up spaces for their employees for the Friday prayer.
“No religious activities in public spaces”
At least 12 MNCs, including HCL, received a notice from UP Police that said, “Nobody is allowed to offer Friday prayers in the park.” Further, the notice claimed that if their employees would be seen doing the same, then the company would be held responsible. After receiving flak from the public, BN Singh, DM Gautam Budh Nagar said that companies were not supposed to be held responsible for the religious beliefs of their employees. “The district administration will talk to the companies and clear their doubts,” he added.
Soon after the Noida police’s order restricting “religious activities” at the public park, three firms in the same sector opened up their rooftops allowing Muslim employees to pray.
Following the notice, on Friday, the majority of the Muslim employees of Sector 58 went to the nearby tomb to offer their prayers. While talking to the NDTV, locals of the Sector 58 mentioned about the inconvenience caused by the change in venue. However, the locals have maintained that they will abide by the Police directives.
Noida: Police have issued a notice asking companies to ensure that no religious activities are carried out in a park in Sec-58 by their employees, that includes Friday namaz.Notice also states that companies will be held responsible if employees are found offering namaz in parks. pic.twitter.com/MY9PqzuDQk
— ANI (@ANI) December 25, 2018
Firms opened up the rooftop for their employees
Meanwhile, a few firms have now allowed their employees to read the prayers at their offices. While talking to the Hindustan Times, the owner of a hosiery company located in Sector 58, said that his company has an arrangement for his Muslim employees to offer Namaz at the office for the last 12 years. He added that an Imam who recites the Quran has also been arranged for the employees working in his company.
On Friday, at least 70 people read their afternoon Namaz at the office rooftop, with Imam Mohammad Abbas reciting verses from the Quran. The Imam said that the owner of the company has also arranged for a priest for the Hindu employees of the company, reports Hindustan Times.
The notice that came last week has received a lot of criticism from the opposition and others. AIMIM (All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen) chief Asaduddin Owaisi, questioned the UP police move saying how can an MNC be held liable for what their employees do in an individual capacity.
UP Cops literally showered petals for Kanwariyas, but namaz once a week can mean “disrupting peace & harmony”. This is telling Muslims: aap kuch bhi karlo, ghalti to aapki hi hogi.
Also, by law, how does one hold an MNC liable for what their employees do in individual capacity? https://t.co/b90Jw5ZMHY
— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) December 25, 2018
What a secular country? Muslims are not even allowed to pray in public parks, while Hindus can put their Gods in government offices! https://t.co/YFCFxsFSV0
— Ashok Swain (@ashoswai) December 25, 2018
According to NDTV sources, the notice was issued to the companies after some Hindu groups had complained to the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Noida. Reportedly, the group had claimed that offering Namaz in the open “disrupts harmony”.