Noida: The police in Uttar Pradesh have prohibited any religious activity, including namaz, in public parks. 

The police have asked 29 companies and offices in Noida's industrial hub to ensure that their employees don't offer namaz in open public spaces, sparking controversy on Tuesday. 

"It is to inform you that there is no permission from the administrative authorities for any kind of religious activity including the 'namaz' offered on Fridays in the park situated in Sector 58. It has often been seen that the Muslim workers of your company assemble in the park to offer Namaz. It is expected that you inform your employees to not come to the park to offer Namaz," said a directive issued by Pankaj Rai, SHO of Sector-58 Police Station, Noida.

Senior superintendent of police Ajay Pal Sharma said that the city magistrate has not given permission to perform namaz in the park. “But despite it the mob was gathering every Friday to perform Namaz. We then wrote a letter to some private firms and asked them not to send their employees to perform Namaz. We only requested them to convey the message to their employees,” he said.

Officials said that according to a Supreme Court order of 2009, there is a ban on unauthorised use of public places for religious activities by all religions.  

On December 19, two people were arrested under Section 151 for violating the law.

According to the notice, companies will be held liable if their Muslim employees are found offering namaz in the park. 

In an attempt of damage control, the district administration of Noida has assured that companies would not be held liable if their employees offer namaz at public parks in the city.

District magistrate BN Singh, said, “Companies and business houses are not liable for employees' religious beliefs and prayers. The district administration will talk to the companies and clear their doubts."