NOIDA: Days after a Noida park was declared out of bounds for religious activities, only a dozen people turned up there for the Friday namaz but found parts of the ground waterlogged and the police keeping a vigil.
Early this month, the Nodia Police had issued orders stating that Friday prayers cannot be held at the government plot as there was no requisite permission.
A fire tender was also deployed outside the park on Friday.
The local authorities had watered the park, which served as a venue for collective Friday namaz for the past few years and where hundreds used to turn up every week.
Those who came for the prayers but could not offer namaz expressed disappointment, claiming that it was only the last and this Friday that water was released into the park since it started hosting the prayers.
A Noida Authority official said watering in the parks is done by maintenance contractors and they decide when to do this.
"The maintenance of the parks is looked after by contractors. They decide when to water it, trim the grass and clean it," the official, who did not wish to be named, told PTI.
Scores of personnel including those from Sector 58 and nearby police stations and the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) were deployed in and around the park.
A fire tender was also stationed outside it.
Adil Rashid, one of the organisers of the Friday prayers at the park since 2013, had Thursday appealed to the Muslims not to go to the park, saying permission for religious gatherings had been denied by the administration.
Cleric Noman Akhtar, who had been leading the prayers over the years, had also said he will not be joining the namaz on Friday in the park.
Mohd Mushtaq Khan, who works in a private company in adjoining Sector 59 and turned up for the namaz, said he had been coming to the park for over five years now.
"There is no other space where we can go. I come at 1.30 pm and everyone gets done offering namaz by 2 pm."
"It's only today and last Friday that the park has been watered. Otherwise, there would be arrangement of water at a corner in the park for 'wajoo'," the 33-year-old told PTI.
He said since there was no permission for holding namaz there they could not enter the park.
Meraj Ahmed, who also came for offering namaz, said going too far off places looking for a mosque was not possible in a half-hour lunch break.
He said that on Fridays he gets a one-hour break from his company considering the prayers, but even that "does not solve my problem".
"There is no provision by the companies also, so we used to come here. I don't know what will we do next Friday," Ahmed, 27, said.