Fact Check: Has UP Police banned azaan in Farrukhabad?
Asiaville has fact-checked the notice being circulated on social media claiming that the Uttar Pradesh police has banned azaan, during the month of Ramzan, in Farrukhabad district.
On Friday, two Delhi police constables were caught on camera falsely claiming that azaan has been "banned" as per the Lieutenant Governor’s order.
Barely days after, a notice allegedly issued by Uttar Pradesh’s Farrukhabad police is doing the rounds on social media platforms. According to the notice, the police has banned the recitation of azaan in mosques. The alleged ban has attracted widespread criticism.
Asiaville decided to fact check the claims of the notice being circulated which puts the UP Police in a bad light.
So far, neither the Union Home Ministry nor any state government has issued orders to ban azaan inside mosques during the nationwide lockdown. The notice being circulated has surfaced in the first week of the holy month of Ramzan. If the claims made in the notice were true, it would have amounted to discriminatory orders issued by public servants.
This correspondent got in touch with the Maudarwaza local police station and the Farrukhabad administration to ascertain the facts of the case.
Claim: Ban on reciting of azaan in Farrukhabad
According to the notice being shared on social media, it was issued by Station House Officer (SHO) Jay Prakash Sharma of Maudarwaza Police Station of Farrukhabad.
It reads: the month of Ramzan is beginning from April 25 and in light of the outbreak of the global pandemic – Corona, lockdown and imposition of Section 144, the offering of prayers and the announcement of azaan inside mosques are banned.
The alleged notice further reads that the use of loudspeakers for offering prayers are strictly banned and the violators will be tried under the relevant sections of the IPC.
According to the claims, the Farrukhabad police has banned azaan and offering namaz inside the mosques during the month of Ramzan.
Azaan is an Islamic ritual of the call to prayer made by a muezzin of the mosque from the minaret of a mosque. In modern days, there is also a trend of playing the recording of azaan through the public announcement system.
Fact Check Report: Police says notice is fake
Asiaville approached the SHO Maudarwaza in whose name this alleged notice is being circulated and the district administration to ascertain the fact.
During the fact-checking, we found out that the claims being made in the notice regarding the ban on azaan are fake.
Jay Prakash Sharma, 50, is the SHO of the Maudarwaza police station of Farrukhabad. “I received calls regarding the notice being circulated on social media platforms. It is being shared in my name but our police station has not issued any such notice,” he said.
He further added, “The signature (Sharma’s signature on the notice) and the notice – both are fake.”
Sharma also shared that three to four days ago, a meeting consisting of roughly 50-100 members from the minority community and the peace committee members was held at the Maudarwaza police station regarding the preparation for Ramzan. “In the meeting, the members of the community and peace committees were told to make sure that people offer namaz from their homes and don’t hold any gatherings at the mosques,” the SHO said.
The meeting was held in light of the Central Government guidelines banning all public gatherings until May 3 due to the spread of coronavirus.
The Farrukhabad Superintendent of Police (SP) Anil Kumar Mishra also vouched that the notice being spread on social media is fake.
“I have checked with the respective police station and found out that they have not issued any such notice,” he told Asiaville.
SP Mishra said that there is no ban on reciting azaan. He further shared that the Farrukhabad police - in consultation with minority community members – has put out a plan to be followed during Ramzan, considering the COVID-19 outbreak.
“One muezzin has been allowed in every mosque to recite azaan and offer prayers. It will happen like normal days. Every mosque, here, has identified muezzin,” the Farrukhabad SP said. He further added that the decisions were taken during a meeting three to four days ago and “even last night we had a similar gathering”. However, public gatherings, including offering namaz inside the mosque, are banned in accordance with the lockdown guidelines.
The MHA order – regarding the nationwide lockdown -- has banned any public gathering - including religious gatherings - in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The Farrukhabad administration has intensified patrolling to ensure that social distancing measures are being followed during Ramzan, the police said.
“We have also made efforts to make sure street vendors like that of dry fruits are stationed in each Muslim neighbourhood. It would reduce the possibility of crowding in one market and the measures for the social distancing are being taken,” SP Mishra said.
Action against those spreading fake news
The Farrukhabad Police has initiated an investigation to find out who is behind this “notorious act” of spreading fake news during Ramzan.
“Action will be taken against those who are behind peddling this fake news. The investigation has been already initiated,” the Farrukhabad SP said.
On Friday, similar concerns regarding “ban on azaan” was triggered in Delhi after a video of two Delhi Police personnel speaking to a Mosque’s administration had surfaced. In the video, police personnel from Delhi’s Prem Nagar station can be heard saying that the announcement of azaan and offering of prayers inside the mosque is banned as per the orders of the Lieutenant Governor. When these policemen were confronted by locals and the copy of the LG’s order was sought, they responded saying, “Go to the police station and read the LG Sahab’s notice yourself”.
It has come to notice that a video has been circulating in social media regarding instructions being given for not reciting azaan by Police. @DelhiPolice has already communicated that no such instructions have been given and has clarified the same in their advisory. https://t.co/d0NvsK5k5s— LG Delhi (@LtGovDelhi) April 24, 2020
However, soon after the video surfaced on social media, the Delhi Police clarified that no such order has been passed by the LG’s Office.
Responding to the viral video, Delhi LG Anil Baijal clarified that no ban on reciting azaan was ordered by his office.