Arabic teacher, B. Pharm student among 4 held for ‘offering namaz at Lulu Mall’ in Lucknow

Arabic teacher, B. Pharm student among 4 held for ‘offering namaz at Lulu Mall’ in Lucknow

Nine men allegedly offered namaz at mall last week. UP CM Yogi Adityanath Monday called for action against those making 'unnecessary remarks, staging demonstrations' over incident.

File photo of a notice regarding the ban on religious prayers put up inside the atrium of LuLu Mall in Lucknow | PTI

File photo of a notice regarding the ban on religious prayers put up inside the atrium of LuLu Mall in Lucknow | PTI

Lucknow: A day after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said “some elements” were trying to “spoil the atmosphere” of Uttar Pradesh and strict action would be taken against them, the Lucknow Police Tuesday arrested four of the nine men who allegedly offered namaz inside the newly-opened Lulu Mall.

An Arabic teacher, two madrasa students and a B. Pharm student were arrested in connection with the incident, which went viral through a video on 13 July. After this, on 15 July, three people were detained from outside the mall’s gates for allegedly attempting to recite a Hindu text, the Sundarkand.

The arrested men were identified as Mohammed Lukman, Mohammed Nauman, Mohammed Rehan and Atif Khan, police said, adding that the first two accused were brothers and stayed in Lucknow’s Khurram Nagar.

Lucknow police commissioner D. K. Thakur told ThePrint that Lukman is an Arabic teacher at a madrasa while Nauman studies at a local madrasa. “Rehan, too, studies in a madrasa. Atif is a B. Pharma student,” he said.

Relatives of Lukman and Nauman as well as residents of the Adnan Nagar area, however, told ThePrint that the former teaches Arabic in the locality but not in a madrasa.

“Lukman is a hafiz (a person who knows the Quran by heart) and he teaches Arabic to students at home. He does not teach in a madrasa. Nauman, too, is a hafiz and has been learning from his elder brother,” Lukman’s mother, who identified herself as ‘Khatoon’, told ThePrint.

Mohammed Shoaib Khan, who teaches at the Rehmania madrasa in the Adnan Nagar area, told ThePrint that Rehan and Atif are relatives. “Rehan studies at the Qidlain madrasa near the Jama Masjid in the locality. Atif is his cousin from the maternal side,” he said.

Although relatives claimed that two of the accused are juveniles, Swati Chaudhary, additional deputy commissioner of police, Gosainganj, told ThePrint that all those accused are adults.

Police, meanwhile, had detained another youth, Arshad Ali, for allegedly trying to offer namaz inside the mall on 15 July.

The mother of Lukman and Nauman claimed that her sons had gone to see the mall and that they simply joined the five “others” on seeing them offering namaz.

“When the two returned, they were normal. However, when news reports went viral, they got afraid thinking about the repercussions of their act. They should not have offered namaz inside the premises but they simply joined the others. The other five accused should also be arrested,” she told ThePrint.

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Detained trio has Right-wing link 

Meanwhile, it has been reported that three of the persons who attempted to recite the Sundarkand inside the mall shortly after the namaz was offered were associated with the Hindu Samaj Party, a Right-wing group founded in 2017 by the late Kamlesh Tiwari. Tiwari was murdered in 2019, allegedly over controversial remarks he made about the Prophet Muhammad.

The trio, identified as Saroj Nath Yogi, Krishna Kumar Pathak and Gaurav Goswami, were put under preventive detention.

Saroj Nath also claims to be the president of the Sanatan Dharm Trust Committee — a lesser-known Right-wing outfit — and claims to be associated with the Siddh Inteshwar Mahadev Temple in Lucknow’s Bakshi Ka Talab area.

Earlier, while making a statement on the stone pelting incidents in Kanpur and violence during Friday prayers in Prayagraj last month, Saroj Nath had called for an open debate with Muslim leaders in context with Quran.

“Three people were detained from the entry gate of Lulu Mall in Lucknow for allegedly attempting to recite Sundarkand inside the mall premises. Three people of the Hindu Samaj Party were detained at the mall’s gate. Currently, there’s a peaceful situation,” DCP (South) Rajesh Srivastava had told ANI earlier.

(Edited by Tony Rai)

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