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Haldwani: Over 700 People Arrested Following Communal Clashes During Namaz Offering

Tension broke out between the two communities in the Bhotia Parav area of the Haldwani district on Monday evening when some people belonging to Hindu organisations objected to Muslim religious practices being held in the Awas Vikas colony.

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Namazis arrested while performing 'Wazu' in Haldwani (Representative image)
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Police have booked over 700 unnamed people after a clash between two groups in a Haldwani locality over some namazis performing ‘wazu’ at a public space, an official said on Wednesday.

Tension broke out between the two communities in the Bhotia Parav area of the Haldwani district on Monday evening when some people belonging to Hindu organisations objected to Muslim religious practices being held in the Awas Vikas colony.

Although namaz was being offered in the house of Advocate Zafar Siddique, objections were raised over an open public plot nearby being used for the ritual ‘wazu’ before offering namaz.

Muslims perform ‘wazu’ or ritual ablution before offering ‘namaz’.

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Witnesses claimed that tension escalated when some members of a Hindu outfit gathered in the area and allegedly slapped Imam Shahid Hussain who was presiding over the collective namaz offering ceremony.

Hussain filed an FIR with the police. Later, Siddique, the owner of the house where namaz was being offered, also filed an FIR.

SHO Bhotia Parav Harendra Chaudhary reached the spot with the police force and sealed the advocate’s property on finding that it was an illegal construction, officials said, adding the clashing sides were brought to the police station.

“We have booked 700-800 people under sections 147 (rioting), 332 (Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 341 (Punishment for wrongful restraint), 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) for blocking the highway, indulging in violence,” the SHO said.

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A woman had earlier filed a complaint with the police, claiming that the empty plot in question was being used for unauthorised religious activities causing a disturbance and “filth” in a public space.

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