Two days after several unidentified people were booked for offering Namaz at Lucknow's LuLu mall, inviting the ire of right-wing Hindutva groups, the mall authorities on Sunday, 17 July said that over 80 percent of the mall staff is Hindu.
Disputing claims of religious discrimination, the authorities stated that the majority of the staff in the mall was Hindu, and added, "Our employees are hired on the basis of skills and merit, and not based on the caste, class, or religion."
This came after a complaint by the Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Mahasabha, which alleged that 70 percent of the mall staff were Muslim men, while the rest were women from the Hindu community.
"By doing so, they are practising love Jihad," the complaint had stated.
The mall was inaugurated by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and has been opened by Abu Dhabi-based Lulu Group, led by Indian-origin billionaire Yussuf Ali M A.
The FIR & Controversy
The FIR was registered by management of LuLu Mall against the several persons who were seen who were seen offering namaz in a video that went viral on social media on 14 July.
The police booked unknown persons under the sections 295A (Deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 505 (Statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Soon after the video went viral, members of the Mahasabha reached the gates of the mall and staged a protest. They also sought permission from the local authorities to recite the Hanuman Chalisa near the mall.
The Lulu group has invested Rs 2,500 crore in Uttar Pradesh for several developmental projects.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also present at the groundbreaking ceremony of Lulu Group's projects last month.