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UP Police arrest Muslim man for offering collective prayer inside coaching centre; FIR claims “prayers have an influential effect”

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Representative image: Shaheen Abdulla/Maktoob

A Muslim man has been arrested in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad for offering congregational prayers inside his coaching institute.

Maulvi Shaukat Ali was arrested by police in the Deepak Vihar area of Ghaziabad on 23 June.

A First Investigation Report (FIR) which has been filed against Ali states that he was offering collective prayers inside the Future Track Coaching Institute when the police arrived.

The police said that they received a complaint from members of the Hindu community who were opposed to the prayers.

The SHO of Khoda Police Station, where the FIR has been filed, said that Ali was running a madrasa inside the coaching institute and that the prayers were being offered there.

“On June 23, I was patrolling the Nehru Garden Chowki area during the afternoon when I noticed a group prayer taking place inside the Future Track Coaching Institute of Deepak Vihar, conducted by members of the Muslim community. However, some residents from the nearby Hindu community were expressing their opposition to the prayers,” read the FIR filed by Sub Inspector Prem Singh.

The FIR was registered under the sections of 153A and 505 of Indian Penal Code.

When asked about the legality of running a Madrasa or conducting prayers, Station House Officer, Khoda Police Station said to Maktoob, “The act of praying was having an influence on others in the area.”

A local resident who also runs a coaching institute said that Ali is a respectable man and had been an imam of the mosque in the area in the past.

“Ali doesn’t run a coaching institute; instead, he operates a madrasa where he also imparts modern educational teachings,” he said.

“Praying collectively should not be a grounds for arrest,” he added.

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