Senior Superintendent of Police, Noida, Ajay Pal said on Tuesday that the notice to private firms in Noida Sector 58 was issued by the SHO of the area police station, Pankaj Rai. The SHO told the media that the notice was issued to 23 companies as over the past few weeks around 500 people were assembling on Fridays to offer namaz. The number had gone up significantly from the 15-20 people who used to pray in the park earlier. The SSP also said the notice did not target any particular religion. “Some people had sought permission to offer prayers at a park in Sector 58, but they weren’t allowed by the city magistrate. And still a lot of people gathered there.
The notice aims to discourage all sorts of religious gatherings,” he said. According to the police, the notice was issued to maintain law and order after some residents of Bishanpura village had objected to the congregation. The police said that on December 16, over 500 people gathered in the park, including many outsiders. The Noida police’s action has come in for criticism from several clerics and organisations.
Delhi Minority Commission chairman Zafarul Islam Khan said the notice was illegal and should be revoked. He said he would write an advisory to the U.P. government on the issue.