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Indian police find ‘no crime’ after viral video of woman offering namaz at hospital leads to official probe

Indian police on Friday said it found “no crime” after a viral video of Muslim woman offering namaz at a hospital led to an official probe, according to a NDTV report.

The report stated that the video of the woman offering prayers outside a ward at a government hospital in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj surfaced on WhatsApp groups and other platforms, prompting complaints from some people claiming “it is illegal to offer prayers in public places”.

The uproar over the video on social media led to intervention from the police.

The local police initially said a probe was underway, however, hours later they shared the probe report.

“The 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,” the police said.

However, the NDTV report quoted Chief Medical Superintendent at the Tej Bahadur Sapru Hospital, Dr MK Akhauri, as saying that “we have issued a strict warning against such activities in the ward. It is a public place.”

The officer 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.”

Earlier, the police had released a statement, saying “cognizance of the video has been taken, and the concerned has been directed to take necessary action as per rules.” But later they clarified that the act did not warrant any action as “it was not a criminal act”.

Last year in December, the chief minister of the Indian state of Haryana, Manohar Lal Khattar had said that namaz and other religious activities should only be offered at their designated places and not in the open, stressing that the practice will “not be tolerated”.

He had made the controversial statement after weeks of tension in the city of Gurgaon — also called Gurugram — where Hindu groups had been disrupting Friday prayers and putting pressure on authorities to stop Muslims from offering the prayers in open spaces.

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