By Aishwarya Iyer / Scroll
According to the families of the four youth arrested for reading namaz in Lucknow’s Lulu Mall, they asked security guards for permission before they prayed on July 14.
A communally charged row broke out over videos of eight men offering namaz at the mall, inaugurated just days earlier by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath. As Hindutva groups protested, the local administration imposed Section 144, introducing curbs on movement and public gatherings.
After days of tension, the police arrested four youth on July 19 and sent them to judicial remand. They were booked for offences such as promoting between religious groups and outraging religious feelings. Brothers Rehan and Atif Khan are 17 and 18, respectively, their relatives said.
“We are hearing he was taken to jail, he is not an adult yet,” said their uncle, Ibrahim Khan, said about Rehan Khan. The police did not confirm whether Rehan Khan was treated as a minor or taken to prison.
The other two arrested are also brothers – Mohammad Lukman and Mohammad Nomaan, both in their 20s. Lawyers moved the Lucknow district court for bail for all four youth on July 22. The bail hearing is scheduled for July 25.
“They were close to each other and would meet often to hang out,” said Ibrahim Khan, adding that he did not know the four others in the video. He said that Atif Khan was a first-year student at a pharmaceutical college in Lucknow while Rehan Khan studied at a madrasa. All four live in Lucknow’s Abrar Nagar.
Scroll.in visited the madrasa where Rehan Khan studies, and which Lukmaan and Nomaan had previously attended. “All of them are basically students,” said one of the teachers at the madrasa, who did not want to be identified.
According to him, the mall visit was part of post-Eid celebrations. “They had a day off and wanted to see what the new mall was like,” the teacher said. “That was it. They have made a big deal out of nothing.”
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