Lucknow: A controversy broke out after a video purportedly showing a group of people offering namaz at Lulu Mall here surfaced on social media, leading to a protest by a right-wing Hindu group that also filed a police complaint.
Members of the group also sought permission from the local authorities to recite the Hanuman Chalisa near the mall on Friday.
The mall was inaugurated by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday and has been opened by Abu Dhabi-based Lulu Group, led by Indian-origin billionaire Yussuf Ali M A.
After the video surfaced on social media, some members of the Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Mahasabha reached outside the gates of the mall and staged a protest.
“People from a particular community are being allowed to offer namaz inside the mall. The mall authorities should also allow Hindus and people for other communities to offer prayers,” Sishir Charturvedi, who identified himself as the national spokesman of the Mahasabha, told PTI.
Chaturvedi alleged that he and other members of the Mahasabha were not allowed to enter the mall.
Sameer Verma, general manager the mall in Lucknow, in a video statement said, “Lulu Mall respects all religions. Any kind of religious work or prayer is not permitted here. We train our floor staff and security staff to keep an eye on such activities.”
He, however, did not make any comment on the controversy related to the offering of namaz on the mall premises.
Meanwhile, some police personnel from nearby Sushant Golf City police station reached outside the mall to maintain law and order.
Later, Chaturvedi along with Mahasabha members filed a complaint.
“Namaz was offered inside the Mall which is against the state government’s decision of not allowing namaz in public places,” reads the complaint.
The complaint alleged that 70 per cent of the mall staff are men from the Muslim community while the rest 30 per cent are women from Hindu community.
“By doing so they are practising love Jihad,” the complaint added demanding an investigation into the matter.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) Gopal Krishna Choudhary said, “The complaint filed with the police is being looked into.