Prayers At Lulu Mall: Yogi Adityanath For "Strict" Action Over "Unnecessary Remarks, Demonstrations"

As video of some men offering namaz at mall went viral, some outfits sought action; police have since arrested several people over prayers, protests

Lucknow:

Speaking about a controversy over some people praying at Lucknow's Lulu Mall, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has spoken against "unnecessary remarks and staging demonstrations to obstruct movement of people". 

"The Lucknow administration must take the matter very seriously. Miscreants attempting to create such nuisance should be dealt with strictly," said CM Adityanath, who had on July 10 inaugurated the mall that's run by Abu Dhabi-based Lulu Group of Indian-origin billionaire Yussuf Ali MA.

Police in state capital Lucknow have arrested four of the eight Muslim men who were seen offering namaz at the mall on July 12. The case was registered on charges of outraging religious feelings after a video of namaz being offered at the mall went viral and some Hindu organisations alleged violation of communal harmony by those using public space for religious activity. These right-wing outfits sought permission to recite the Hanuman Chalisa there as a counter, which was declined. 

Then, three Hindu men were arrested as they sought to hold prayers on July 15. Another Muslim man was arrested for trying to offer namaz. The next day, more than 10 persons were booked, besides the two arrested over trying to hold prayers and raising slogans.

The management has put up a board saying, "No religious prayers will be permitted in the mall."

Some organisations have accused the mall owners of being biased towards Muslims, a charge the management denied by providing data on those employed with it. 

The general manager, Sameer Verma, said, "Lulu Mall respects all the religions and kind of worshipping is not permitted here. In this regard, we provide strict training to our staff to keep an eye on such incidents."

.