Amidst the ongoing controversy over the offering of Namaz inside Lulu Mall, police have deployed additional security outside the establishment, using a drone to maintain law and order.
"Personnel from the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) have been deployed near the mall and local police units have also been asked to stay vigilant to ensure that miscreants don't commit mischief in the area leading to disruption of law and order," said Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Piyush Mordia.
A team of the PAC has been deployed near the approach road leading to the mall entrance, local police personnel are spread across the entire length of the property. A police team is also using a drone to keep an eye on the area, said Morda. While police are keeping a close watch on miscreants outside, the mall security personnel are being trained to look from the inside.
"Our security staff is being trained to follow a strict no-tolerance policy against anyone who tries to create a ruckus inside the property by any means. Our staff has been directed to hand over such miscreants to police," said a senior Mall official on the condition of anonymity.
The mall administration and the local police are also using video footage of over 1,000 CCTV cameras placed in and around the mall. Police had on Tuesday arrested four people for allegedly offering Namaz inside the mall premise and searching for others. None of those arrested are the staff of the mall. "We are also trying to ascertain if the act to offer Namaz was planned on the direction of someone. All aspects of the case are being looked into," said the officer.
The arrest in the Namaz incident came after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had on Monday directed the administration to act tough against such elements hell-bent on vitiating the atmosphere. The incident kicked up a row after a right-wing Hindu outfit objected to the Namaz and sought permission to recite the Hanuman Chalisa there. A video of people offering Namaz at Lulu Mall had surfaced on social media on July 13. Some members of the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha staged a sit-in at the gate of Lulu Mall the next day.
Shishir Chaturvedi, who claimed to be the national spokesperson of the Mahasabha, had alleged that people belonging to a particular community were being allowed to offer prayers inside the mall. The mall authorities should also allow Hindus and other religions to offer prayers inside the mall, he had said.
Sameer Verma, general manager of the mall in Lucknow, in a video statement had said, "Lulu Mall respects all religions. Any kind of religious work or prayer is not permitted here. We train our floor staff and security staff to keep an eye on such activities."
Chaturvedi and other members of the right-wing Hindu organisation had lodged a complaint.
"Namaz was offered inside the mall which is against the policy of not allowing prayers in public places. According to the viral news on social media, 70 per cent of the male staff personnel at Lulu Mall are Muslim and 30 per cent female staff are from the Hindu community. By doing this Lulu Mall management is promoting love jihad," Chaturvedi had alleged.
The mall management in a statement issued on Monday said, "All workers we have here are from Uttar Pradesh and also from other parts of the country. Out of which more than 80 per cent are Hindus and the rest are Muslims, Christians and from other sections."
On July 15, two people were arrested by police and at least 15 detained for creating a ruckus when they tried to enter the mall premises without permission.