500 cops to guard namaz spots in Gurugram

Members of Muslim groups said that there is need for police protection at five designated prayer sites, at DLF Phase-3, Sector 12A, Sector 14, Sector 56 and Sector 47. 
Officials said they are prepared to tackle any issue and that ongoing arrangements would continue. (Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)
Officials said they are prepared to tackle any issue and that ongoing arrangements would continue. (Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Oct 29, 2021 06:43 AM IST
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By, Gurugram

Around 500 police personnel will be deployed at five spots where Muslims offer namaz (prayers) in the city on Friday following threats from rightwing Hindu groups to disrupt public order if prayers are offered in the open.

KK Rao, the commissioner of police, said that following clear instructions from the chief minister on the matter, the police will ensure there is no disruption to the ongoing arrangements. “All the police teams have been directed to take strict action against those who try to harass anyone offering namaz,” he said.

In 2018, the district administration designated 37 sites in the city for Muslims to offer Friday prayers following which there were protests by a consortium of Hindu groups.

Earlier this year, a fringe group again started staging protests, which intensified in September at one of the sites in Sector 47.

Residents and locals joined the protest, chanting Hindu prayers at the time of namaz on consecutive Fridays over the past two weeks.

On October 26, a consortium of Hindu groups, under the banner of Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti, submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioner stating that they would not tolerate Friday prayers in the open.

However, officials said they are prepared to tackle any issue and that ongoing arrangements would continue.

Yash Garg, the deputy commissioner of Gurugram, said that they have assigned duties (to check law and order) and deployed duty magistrates at all sensitive spots. “We are have elaborate security arrangements and will ensure safety and security of people offering namaz,” he said.

According to the police, crime investigation agency (CIA) teams will also be deployed at the spots from early morning Friday to keep a close watch on the movement of people visiting the area.

Members of Muslim groups said that there is need for police protection at five designated prayer sites, at DLF Phase-3, Sector 12A, Sector 14, Sector 56 and Sector 47. They have called more people from neighbouring Nuh and Pataudi for support.

Haji Shehzad Khan, the chairman of Muslim Ekta Manch, said, “If they (Hindu groups) shout slogans, we will not sit silent. We don’t want to disturb law and order situation, but if they target us, we will not sit quiet,” he said.

Khan said that following protests by residents, the site at Sector 47 was reallocated to another in Sector 12A but protests continued. “We don’t want any confrontation and conflict; we are ready to relocate to another place provided the administration can guarantee peace,” he said.

Meanwhile, Arya Kendriya Sabha, a central organisation of Arya Samaj branches, submitted a memorandum to the district administration on Thursday demanding a complete ban on namaz in the open. “We demand a complete ban on namaz in the open to maintain peace and harmony in the city,” said Laxman Pahuja, a member.

Pahuja said they will protest in large numbers on Friday, in an attempt to disrupt the prayers.

Aman Yadav, the assistant commissioner of police (Sadar), said that more than 500 police personnel are deployed at five spots and those trying to disrupt prayers will be arrested. “We will not allow anyone to disrupt the Friday prayers and we will not let people to take the law into their hands,” he said.

In a related incident on Thursday, a furniture shop owner in Sector 12 complained to the police of prayers being forcefully offered in front of his shop.

Mehmood Khan, a businessman who runs a furniture shop in Sector 12, alleged that last Friday, residents and fringe groups staged a protest against namaz in an open area. “A group of Muslims has been offering namaz in front of my furniture shop for the past few months. I had requested maulvi in the past not to conduct Friday prayers here, but they ignored my request stating that they were not offering prayer on private land but on government land,” he said.

A complaint in this regard was lodged at the Sector 14 police station. However, no case was registered till Thursday evening.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Leena Dhankhar has worked with Hindustan Times for five years. She has covered crime, traffic and excise. She now reports on civic issues and grievances of residents.

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