New Delhi, Apr 4: The organiser of a group namaz and nine others were arrested in Noida on Thursday for allegedly gathering for the prayer in violation of the lockdown restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus threat, the Noida Police said.
An FIR was lodged against them 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 Wednesday evening purportedly showing the gathering on the terrace of a house for the prayer, they 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 testing positive for COVID-19 in the national capital alone.
“Around a dozen people were booked in the case and 10 of them, including the organizer of the prayer meeting, have been arrested by Sector 20 police,” a police spokesperson said.
“Those named in the FIR and arrested are Saadiq, Saaliq, Saqib, Guddu, Noor Hasan, Shamsher, Firoz, Razi Alam, Tabrooq, Chhotu, while efforts were underway to arrest the remaining,” the spokesperson added.
The video showed 10-12 men gathering to offer namaz on the terrace of a house, according to police.
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, they said.
Police said at present CrPC Section 144 (which bars assembly of four or more people) is also imposed in Gautam Buddh Nagar 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 namaz. By their defiance and ignorance, their act could lead to the spread of coronavirus,” the spokesperson said.
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, police said.
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.