By Syed Ali Mujtaba

The viral video on the social media about a group of people offering Namaz at the Lulu Mall in Lucknow turned out to be a Hindu group staging Namaz to intentionally create enmity between communities.

The CCTV camera footage has spilled the beans and it is revealed that the Hindutva forces who were demanding closer to the Mall or be allowed to perform Hindu rituals there were the miscreants as their cohorts’ were party to this organized crime.

CCTV footage exposes that those staging the Namaz were non-Muslims. The miscreants had no clue about how to offer ‘Namaz.’ They were totally novices in the acts of the Muslim form of worship.

Before taking you through the act of crime, let me assure you that the quantum of punishment is out and open. It need not be elaborated, because the act of guessing could be construed as an anti-national activity. It may amount to the slapping of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA). So keep quiet and shout ‘Jai Shree Ram!

CCTV footage shared by the mall authorities shows that eight men gained entry into the mall together. None of them made any effort to look around the mall or visit any showroom. They neither purchased anything nor were interested in taking ‘selfies’ as most people do in the mall.

Seemingly in a hurry, these men start looking for a place to sit down and stage Namaz. They first tried the basement, followed by the ground floor and the first floor, where security guards stopped them. Then they proceeded to the second floor, which was relatively less crowded.

Six of the men immediately sat down to stage Namaz, while the remaining two got busy recording videos and taking photographs. They hurried through the Namaz and after staging it in record time, and video-graphing the act, they exited the mall in a hurry. They made no attempt to look around the mall or loaf around its premises.

Tahira Hasan, an activist, and social worker, right at the beginning had flagged the conspiracy theory in this staged managed   Namaz. She was suspicious about the act and said; that while it takes seven to eight minutes to complete the ‘Namaz’, these men staged it in 18 seconds flat. The men were clearly ignorant about the process of Namaz.

Namaz is always offered to face the West but one of the miscreants was seen in the video facing in a different direction. This led to suspicion that how a Muslim can perform in such a way, and it must be an act by some non-Muslims.  Further suspicion was raised that devout Muslims are not interested in making videos of their act of worship and the purported video is a clear-cut case of malafide intentions.

The controversy generated heat when a video went viral on social media about a group of people seemingly offering Namaz at the Lu-Lu Mall.  Hindu organizations had taken offense at the video and claimed that if Muslims were allowed to pray in the mall, they too should have the right to observe Hindu rituals there.

A group of them had arrived at the mall demanding that they be allowed to read out parts of the Ramayana. They had also alleged that 80% of the men employed at the mall were Muslims but the women were all Hindus. This was, they alleged part of the ‘Love Jihad’ design being staged by the Muslims.

The mall management lodged an FIR with the police to investigate the matter. They sought time to scan the footage and later shared the incriminating footage with the police. They refuted all the allegations of Love Jihad and shared details of its employees with the police. They also insisted to the police probe the “Love-Jihad“ angle and tell the truth to the world.

The Lucknow Police, who had initiated a manhunt for the Muslims, conceded that the CCTV footage made it clear that those behind the crime had no clue about how to offer Namaz. They transferred some lower-ranking police officers for their failure to scan the CCTV footage at the beginning of the controversy. A fresh manhunt is launched to catch the culprits. In the end, this story has turned out to be an anti-climax.

However, this incident raises two fundamental questions. First, can a Muslim propriety concern will be dictated by others, they should not allow their Muslim employees to pray on their premises.

It is a widely prevalent norm that any Muslim propriety concern makes place for Muslims to offer Namaz on their premises. It is widely known that Hindu employers do not allow their Muslim employees to pray in their promises. However, here in the case of Lu-Lu Mall, which is a Muslim propriety concern that is being dictated by some anti-social Hindu element to restrict their way of worship on their premises. How far is this justifiable?

The second important point is that Hindutva forces on the prowl cannot be controlled. The Hindu politicians who have unleashed these forces to create Hindu terror elements cannot put them on a leash. This was done by L.K Advani who rode the tiger of Hindutva to demolish Babari Masjid. His successor capitalized on this and reaped its bounties, little realizing that they have no control over them.  The Lulu Mall staged managed Namaz drama may have backfired now but that’s it’s not an end to such an event repeating again. Soon this will be staged again to the peril of the country. Well, welcome to new India i.e. “Post -Truth India – The Brand New Republic.”

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Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist. His forth-coming book is “Post -Truth India – The Brand New Republic.”

 

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