The Moradabad Police on Tuesday said they have revoked a case against 25 persons, who were booked for allegedly offering namaz in the open in Uttar Pradesh’s Dulhepur village, due to lack of evidence, PTI reported.

The 25 men were booked for public mischief after they allegedly offered namaz in an area that falls under the Chhajlet police station limits on August 24. The police said that no permission was taken before offering prayers.

Superintendent of Police Sandeep Kumar Meena said that the Muslim men had been cautioned against offering namaz in open.

Wahid Saifi, who was named in the first information report, said that he owns the land where namaz was offered, PTI reported. “Recently, some miscreants, who are claiming themselves to be Bajrang Dal activists, are objecting to it, terming it as a new tradition,” Saifi said. “They had made a complaint at the police station on June 3.”

Saifi, along with other villagers, visited the sub-divisional magistrate’s office on June 3 and showed documents of the land. Circle Officer Kanth Saloni Agrawal was also present, he said.

“All legal papers were shown by us but she warned us not to perform namaz in the open and since then we were following the orders,” Saifi told PTI. “But an FIR was lodged on August 24 at the Chajlait police station after the transfer of SHO.”

Leader’s react

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Asaduddin Owaisi said that the decision to withdraw the case was “fair and timely”.

He added, “It is expected that the Uttar Pradesh Police will stop registering illegal FIRs under the pressure of the mob. Hope people will now be able to offer Namaz in their homes without any hassle.”

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah had expressed shock over the police action.

“I am sure if one of the neighbours had a hawan with 26 friends and relatives that would be perfectly acceptable,” he wrote on Twitter. “It’s not the ‘mass gathering’ that is the problem, it’s the offering of namaz.”