Home News How recently opened Lulu Mall became a political hotbed? Controversy explained

How recently opened Lulu Mall became a political hotbed? Controversy explained

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How recently opened Lulu Mall became a political hotbed? Controversy explained

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A notice regarding the ban on religious prayers put up inside LuLu Mall Lucknow | Photo: PTI

“Miscreants attempting to create such nuisance should be dealt with strictly,” Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said on Tuesday as he pulled up the Lucknow administration over the ongoing disturbance and disorder over recital of religious prayers at a recently opened mall.

A shopping mall or business establishment should not be a political breeding ground, CM Adityanath said when talking about Lulu Mall which he had inaugurated earlier this month. More than 20 people have been arrested or detained by the police so far in connection to the issue. There have been claims, counter claims and clarifications issued. Here’s all you need to know about the controversy, chronology of events.

The Lucknow Lulu Mall row

The Lulu Mall Lucknow, which belongs to the UAE-based Lulu Group International, opened its doors to visitors on July 10. A couple of days after the opening, a video with unidentified persons offering Namaz inside the mall went viral. Some Hindu groups reacted to the video by threatening to recite the ‘Sunderkand’ and ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ inside the mall.

UP police detained three people belonging to Hindu Samaj Party on July 15 for attempting Sunderkand recital inside the mall premises. On the same day, an FIR was registered against unidentified persons for recital of Namaz on the complaint of Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha’s Shishir Chaturvedi. Another person, a muslim, was also held, for trying to offer Namaz.

Amid the attempts to disrupt communal harmony, a claim circulated that the eight persons caught on camera offering Namaz at the mall on July 12 were non-Muslims. This prompted Lucknow Police to issue a press note rejecting reports.

On July 16, 18 other persons were booked for disturbing law and order while attempting to enter the mall. Two other people were also taken into custody on the same day for reciting Hanuman Chalisa and raising slogans in a bid to disrupt communal harmony.

With tensions persistent, security in and around the mall was beefed up. A claim was made by Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha’s Shishir Chaturvedi that the Lulu Mall was encouraging love jihad by employing a large number of Muslim youth and only Hindu girls. Lulu Mall authorities came out to reject the allegations that people of only one community were being employed.

“Our establishment does business within the limits prescribed under the rules of the government. Whatever workers we have here, they are not kept in the name of caste, creed, religion, but on the basis of their efficiency,” the General Manager of Lulu Mall Lucknow said. He also said that the mall does not permit worshipping in its premises.

He said that all Lulu Mall workers were local from Uttar Pradesh and India with its workforce comprising 80 percent Hindus and Muslims, Christians and those from other sections making up the rest.

Latest updates on the Namaz row 

A seer from Ayodhya, Mahant Paramhans Das, was detained on Tuesday while attempting to purify the mall as the row refuses to die down.

Meanwhile, police arrested four youths over offering Namaaz at the Mall on July 12. In initial interrogation, the 4 youths, all muslims, told the police that they were in the mall when it was time to offer Namaz, and so they had sat down to pray. The police have said that further questioning is ongoing to “find out the motive behind the incident and whether there was any conspiracy to disturb the law-and-order situation”.

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