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11 Muslims Arrested for Offering Eid Prayers at an Open Site in UP’s Kushinagar 

Kushinagar
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After Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s appeal, the Khushi Nagar district police of Uttar Pradesh arrested 11 Muslims, including minors and the elderly, for offering Eid-ul-Adha prayers in a ground. The arrests were made last Thursday at around 2 am.

Muslim religious leaders had supported the Chief Minister’s earlier appeal, resulting in Eid prayers being held exclusively at designated Eid Gah and other traditional locations. 

In areas where mosques and Eid gahs had limited space, prayers were conducted in different shifts this year. The local Muslims in Kushinagar said they started congregational Eid prayer in an open ground due to the absence of an Eidgah. 

One lady from the area stated, “In the early morning, at approximately 1:55 AM, local law enforcement officers forcibly entered the residence. During the operation, they apprehended my 16-year-old younger brother. The police returned the next morning and proceeded to detain my elder brother and my uncle. When asked about the reason behind these arrests, the police stated that they were being taken into custody solely to record their statements, citing alleged participation in religious prayer activities.”

According to family members of those detained, the unforeseen series of events disrupted their daily lives. As a result, a minor child missed a scheduled examination. 

“Despite assurances from the police that those detained would be released immediately after providing statements, several days have passed and they remain in custody,” said the lady.

Addressing the media, senior officers explained that the police received a call about the Eid prayer being offered at the location. During the investigation, the police discovered that the land belonged to the local Gram Sabha (village council), which led to their action.

“The land where the Eid prayer was offered belonged to the local Gram Sabha. The Muslims in the area had requested a piece of land to build an Eidgah, but their proposal was rejected. The group did not obtain the necessary permissions to hold prayers at the site,” a police officer said.

He added, “The arrests were made to maintain law and order in the area.”

Another affected family member stated, “My elderly parents and young children were among those arrested. They were simply trying to offer their Eid prayers peacefully, and the police swooped in and took them away in the middle of the night.”

During this year’s Eid-ul-Adha celebrations tight security measures were implemented throughout the state, including drone surveillance in sensitive areas. 

Similar incidents occurred during Eid-ul-Fitr when prayers were offered in mosques instead of on roads, in response to the Chief Minister’s appeal.

CM Yogi had already instructed officials from all districts and senior state-level officers regarding Eid preparations. He stressed the importance of maintaining dialogue with religious leaders and other prominent community members to convey a positive message to the public.

He advised senior officers at various levels to hold peace committee meetings, involve the media, mark designated areas for sacrifices in advance, strictly prohibit the sacrifice of banned animals, and implement a waste disposal plan in every district.

According to estimates, this year namaz was performed at more than 30,000 places across the state, with about 3,000 designated sites where strong security arrangements were made.

The state police department remained on high alert due to Ganga Dussehra on Sunday, Eid-ul-Azha on Monday, and Bada Mangal of the Jyeshtha month on Tuesday.

In 2023, three FIRs were filed against more than 2,000 people for offering namaz without permission on a road outside the Eidgah on Eid. One of the FIRs was lodged at the Bajaria Police Station against 1,000 -1,500 unknown individuals, including some members of the Eidgah management committee, based on the complaint of sub-inspector (SI) Omveer Singh.

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