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Bajrang Dal members stop Muslims from holding prayer meet in Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad

Members of Hindutva organisation Bajrang Dal on Saturday stopped Muslims from holding a prayer meeting during Ramzan in Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad city.

In a statement, the Moradabad Police said that they received a complaint about the prayer meeting from residents of the city’s Lajpat Nagar area which has a “Hindu majority/mixed population”. The meeting was allowed to be held on Saturday in the presence of police, but Muslims of the area have been asked to offer prayers at their respective homes or religious places, the statement said.

Zakir Hussain, who had organised the prayer meeting at his warehouse, has submitted a written statement to the police station agreeing not to hold any such congregations.

The Bajrang Dal has alleged that Hussain started a “new tradition” by holding prayer meetings at his home. Rohan Saxena, state president of the Bajrang Dal, told reporters that the members of the Hindutva organisation and locals intervened after they got to know about the prayer meeting.

“We have told the police that those who want to create new traditions [and] disrupt peace of the city should be booked,” he said. “We will not allow any new tradition,” he said.

Saxena said that his organisation has been demanding cases be registered against those fomenting disharmony. He also warned that if the police fail to file a first information report, the Bajarang Dal will hold an agitation.

Over the last few years, there have been a number of instances of Muslims being arrested or harassed for praying in public. Most of the incidents have been reported in Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states and the police took action after protests by Hindutva organisations.

The arrests have been made under various charges like promoting enmity, outraging religious feelings and causing public mischief. However, legal experts opine that arresting people for offering prayers in public is not backed by the Indian law.

Also read: Public worship is everywhere in India – so how are arrests being made for namaz?

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