1 held, dozen booked in Noida for offering namaaz in group

Noida: One man was arrested and around a dozen people booked here for allegedly gathering for a group namaaz in violation of lockdown restrictions imposed due to coronavirus, the Noida police said on Thursday.

The FIR was lodged under provisions including those of the National Disaster Management Act, 2005 and the Uttar Pradesh Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 after a video surfaced on social media on Wednesday evening purportedly showing the gathering on the terrace of a house for the prayer, the police said.

The development comes close on the heels of apprehensions of immense spread of the pandemic after a large number of people, including foreigners, attending a religious congregation at Delhi’s Nizamuddin area last month and at least 53 of the attendees were tested positive for COVID-19 in the national capital alone.

The video showed 10-12 men gathering to offer namaaz on the terrace of a house, according to the police.

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The matter was immediately probed and it emerged that the prayer had taken place under the leadership of a man identified as Sadiq in the JJ Cluster in Sector 16, under Sector 20 police station here, it said.

“One of the accused in whose house the gathering was held has been arrested,” Deputy Commissioner of Police, Noida, Sankalp Sharma told PTI.

Another police official said at present, CrPC Section 144 (which bars assembly of four or more people) is also imposed in Gautam Buddh Nagar in order to check the spread of coronavirus, while the government, the administration and the media have been appealing to the people to not hold gatherings or not come out of their homes unless there is an emergency.

“Despite all these measures, these men violated the orders for fulfilling a common objective and illegally held a gathering to offer namaaz. By their defiance and ignorance, their act could lead to the spread of coronavirus,” the official said.

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An FIR has been registered against them under IPC sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (unlawfully or negligently spreading infection of any disease dangerous to life) and 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) at the Sector 20 police station, the police said.

Those named in the FIR are Saaliq, Saqib, Guddu, Mohammad Jahangir, Noor Hasan, Shamsher, Afroz, Firoz, Razi Alam, Tabrooq, Chhotu, the police said, adding, efforts were underway to arrest them.

So far 48 positive cases of coronavirus have been detected in Gautam Buddh Nagar which is the highest number of COVID-19 patients for any district in Uttar Pradesh, according to official figures.

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