After the video of a patient’s attendant offering namaz outside a ward at a government hospital in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj went viral, police today said that no crime was committed.
Hospital authorities, however, have said the woman and staff have been “warned against such activity”.
The video went viral on WhatsApp groups and other platforms with the comment that it’s illegal to offer prayers in public spaces. But many on social media asked what’s wrong if someone prays for the well-being of their loved ones.
The Prayagraj Police initially said a probe is on, and then tweeted: “Inquiry found that the woman in the video was offering namaz without any wrong intentions, and without obstructing any work or traffic, for quick recovery of the patient. This act does not fall into any category of crime.” Some news wrongly reported that a case was registered.
Earlier, Dr MK Akhauri, Chief Medical Superintendent at the Tej Bahadur Sapru Hospital, said, “We have issued a strict warning against such activities in the ward. It is a public place.”
He identified the woman as an attendant with a patient in the dengue ward. “We have instructed all ward in-charges not to allow such a thing. We told the woman not to do it again, too. We will decide on further action after our probe report is in.”
The police had responded to a tweet and said, “Cognizance of the video has been taken, and the concerned has been directed to take necessary action as per rules.” But just hours later, they clarified in a tweet, in Hindi, that it wasn’t a criminal act.
अस्पताल में नमाज पढे़ जाने के वायरल वीडियो के सम्बन्ध में अद्यतनः- pic.twitter.com/A5wNcadGr2
— PRAYAGRAJ POLICE (@prayagraj_pol) September 23, 2022
In another such controversy in Uttar Pradesh a couple of months ago, there were protests by Hindu right-wing outfits a group of men were filmed offering namaz at a mall in Lucknow. Those praying were later arrested but got bail.
In neighbouring Madhya Pradesh, a mall in Bhopal witnessed protests by Hindu right-wing groups after some employees were recorded praying in a corner of the mall.
Both malls later banned “any religious activity” on their premises.