By Anwarulhaq Baig
New Delhi, Nov. 20: Following the strong reactions from activists, journalists, Muslim leaders and advocates to the media reports that some imams had been instructed not to pray for Palestinians in mosques, the Delhi Police has denied that it has issued any official directive in this regard and clarified that there is no ban on praying for peace in Palestine.
According to a report published on Monday in Urdu daily Inquilab, Delhi’s North District, DCP Sudhanshu Verma clarified that as far as the issue of war between Israel and Palestine was concerned, the police and all the related personnel had only one stand that all should disseminate the message of love and peace.
Terming those media reports as totally untrue, ACP Vijai Kumar Rastogi asserted that the Station House Officer (SHO) of Sadar Bazar station, Delhi, and any other staff member did not and could not issue such a directive. Also denying that a committee was set up to prevent such prayers, he emphasized that such prayers for peace are offered by followers of every religion.
About 10 days ago, media reports appeared in the Inquilab and Zee Salam TV claiming that the Delhi Police directed the imams against prayers in favour of the Palestinians and threatened them against mentioning Palestine in prayers.
Reports had then sparked anger on social media from all quarters including AIMPLB’s spokesman Dr SQR Ilyas, BSP MP Kunwar Danish Ali, Supreme Court lawyer M.R. Shamshad, Millat Times Editor, Shams Tabrez Qasmi condemning the reported move.
People across the globe are praying for Palestine and protesting against Israeli bombardments on civilians in the besieged Gaza Strip, resulting in the deaths of 12,000 Palestinians, with over 40 percent of them being children.