The Uttar Pradesh Police sparked a row by issuing a controversial order where offices and establishments were asked to direct their Muslim employees to stop offering Friday prayers in open areas such as parks. According to a notice issued last week by police stations in Noida, including at the Sector 58 industrial hub, companies will be held liable if their employees are found violating the directive. The companies in the Sector 58 industrial hub have sought a meeting with the top Noida Police officers for a better understanding of the order, particularly on the clause that threatens to hold them liable for violations of the order by employees, the Indian Express reported.
As published by the daily, the police notice stated: “We want to inform you that there is no permission from the administration to conduct any kind of religious activity including Namaz offered on Friday in the Authority park in Sector 58. It has been often seen that the Muslim workers of your company assemble in the park to offer Namaz and I, the SHO, have told the group to not hold prayers in the park. Also, their plea to the city magistrate has not received any permission to do so.”
“Thus, it is expected from you that you at your level inform your Muslim employees to not come to the park to offer Namaz. If employees of your company come to the park, it will be assumed that you have not informed your employees and your company will be held liable.”
“Yes, we have sent notices to many companies in our area after several complaints regarding a large number of people offering Namaz in the afternoon especially on Fridays. Since most people offering prayers are employees in companies nearby, we have sent notices to those companies to ask their employees to either offer Namaz in a Masjid, Eidgah or within the office compound on the roof etc,” said Pankaj Rai, SHO of the Sector 58 police station, from where the initial round of notices were issued.
Defending the move, the Noida Police said that communal harmony could be disturbed, especially in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 and on Tuesday issued a clarification on the matter and said that the order is not specific to any religion. Senior Superintendent of Police, Noida Ajay Pal said that a few people had asked for permission for religious prayers in a park in Sector 58, but were denied permission from the city magistrate’s office. But they still congregated and the companies in the area were informed about the same.
Ajay Pal,SSP,Noida: Few people had asked for permission for religious prayers in a park in Sec 58. In spite of no permission granted from city magistrate office people congregated.The companies in the area were informed about it.The info is not specific to any particular religion pic.twitter.com/qxv2ryoyqs— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) December 25, 2018
Sector 58 is predominantly an IT and services hub. The companies that have office include Alstom Systems, HCL Technologies, TCS, Samsung, Polaris, Xansa, Interra, R Systems, RMSI, Cadence, Adobe international, ST Microelectronics and Minda Huf.