Three persons were arrested on 20 October for allegedly raising the ‘Pakistan zindabad’ slogan during a religious procession in Noida Sector 8 on 19 October night, on the occasion of Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi, Prophet Mohammed’s birth anniversary. The arrests follow a video clip of the procession going viral, where people are heard raising pro-Pakistan slogans, surfaced on social media on 20 October, the Gautam Budh Nagar police said.
Police identified the arrested suspects as Mohammad Zafar, Sameer Ali and Ali Raza — all residents of Sector 8, Noida.
According to the police in Noida, they launched a probe after a purported 13-second video of the procession was widely shared on social media, in which a few people could be seen and heard raising pro-Pakistan slogans. The video clip also purportedly showed a group of people holding aloft some flags, including the tricolour, and marching with the rest of the crowd.
Rajesh S, deputy commissioner of police, Gautam Budh Nagar (Noida), said the incident was reported in Noida Sector 8. “In the video, a few people can be seen and heard chanting both ‘Hindustan zindabad’ and ‘Pakistan zindabad’,” the DCP said.
Soon after the clip surfaced, members of a few Hindu organisations on 20 October protested at the Sector 20 police station demanding action against the people who took part in the procession.
Uma Nandan Kaushik, zone head, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Noida, said, “Some people raised ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogans during the procession. There were some sensible people in the procession who stopped the group from raising this slogan. Someone captured the incident on a mobile phone and shared the video with us. We then informed the police and demanded action against them,” he said.
Mufti Mohammad Rashid Qasmi, imam of Jama Masjid in Noida Sector 8, said the procession had no connection with the mosque or its organising committee. “We were not part of the procession. We came to know that some people had organised the procession, which had the permission of the police and the district administration. We do not know what happened in the procession,” he said.
The police said the organisers had permission from them to take out the procession. “We took suo motu cognisance of the viral video and registered a case under Section 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence) at the Sector 20 police station. We have sent the video to an expert team for further investigation, although, prima facie, it appears that the video is genuine. We scanned the video and arrested three persons for their alleged involvement in the sloganeering,” the DCP said.