Two more arrested in Lulu Mall namaz row; seven arrested in total

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Earlier today, Adityanath directed the administration to act tough against elements “dedicated to vitiating the atmosphere” in Uttar Pradesh.

A total of seven people have been arrested in connection with an “unauthorised” offering of namaz at a shopping mall in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday. Rajesh Kumar Srivastav, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (South), said, “Irfan Ahmed and Saud were arrested from Sadatganj in Lucknow. It comes days after the police nabbed a fifth accused in the case who offered religious prayers without permission in the mall premises.

Other accused in the case are being sought, the officer said. Neither of those arrested works for Lulu Mall, which Yogi Adityanath inaugurated recently. It was announced Monday that Adityanath had directed the administration to act against elements “hell-bent on vitiating the atmosphere” in the state.

In a video posted on social media on July 13, people were seen offering namaz at Lulu Mall. In response to the incident, a right-wing Hindu outfit sought permission to recite the Hanuman Chalisa on the mall premises. On July 14, Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha members staged a sit-in at the gate of Lulu Mall.

The national spokesperson for the Mahasabha, Shishir Chaturvedi, had claimed that people from a particular community were allowed to pray in the mall. According to him, mall officials should also allow Hindus and other religious groups to offer prayers inside the mall.

The mall’s general manager, Sameer Verma, issued a video statement after the controversy, saying, “Lulu Mall respects all religions.”. No religious activities are allowed in the mall. Our floor staff and security staff are trained to keep an eye on such activities”. On July 15, two people were arrested by police and at least 15 others were detained for creating a ruckus when they tried to enter the mall without authorization.

Following the incident, the local police have beefed up security near the mall in Shaheed Path. The mall, belonging to UAE based Lulu group, was inaugurated by Adityanath earlier this month in presence of senior party leaders.

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