10 arrested for offering group prayer in Noida amid lockdown

The arrest came after a video of them offering prayers on a terrace did the rounds on social media

Police probed the matter immediately and it emerged that the prayer had taken place under the leadership of a man in Sector 16. Photo: PTI

As the country is reeling under the outbreak of COVID-19, 10 people in Noida were arrested on Thursday (April 2) on the charges of gathering for a group namaz. The arrest came after a video of them offering prayers on a terrace did the rounds on social media the previous day.

Police said they had violated the lockdown restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus threat and lodged an FIR against them under the National Disaster Management Act, 2005, and the Uttar Pradesh Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.

“Around a dozen people were booked in the case and 10 of them, including the organiser of the prayer meeting, have been arrested by Sector 20 police,” 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 Delhis Nizamuddin area last month and at least 53 of the attendees testing positive for COVID-19 in the national capital alone.

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After the video got shared on social media, the police probed the matter immediately and it emerged that the prayer had taken place under the leadership of a man in Sector 16.

Currently, CrPC Section 144 has also been imposed in Gautam Buddh Nagar to check the spread of coronavirus, while the government and the administration 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, the 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,” 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.

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