Gurugram groups protest disruption of namaz
Civil society organisations, labour unions and left-wing groups on Wednesday held a protest against the demand of right-wing entities to stop the offering of namaz in designated public spaces that has led to the disruption of Friday prayers in the city over the past couple of months.
The protesters staged a dharna on Wednesday at Civil Lines and also submitted a memorandum to the government demanding action against individuals and organisations disrupting Friday namaz in the city.
SL Prajapati, secretary, Democracy Forum, a group of civil society organisations, said that they sat on a daylong dharna to protest against the activities of right-wing groups that were harassing members of the Muslim community offering prayers at designated public spaces peacefully.
“We have asked the administration to take stringent action against these groups that are trying to polarise the city on communal lines. The administration and police should register cases against the antisocial elements who are harassing Muslims praying peacefully,” he said.
The protesters, who staged a sit-in at the camp office of the divisional commissioner, Gurugram, said that there was a need to ensure that the Muslim community felt safe in the city and was able to offer prayers at the sites designated by the administration.
Altaf Ahmad, founder, Gurugram Nagrik Ekta Manch, said, “We have demanded that action be taken at the earliest against individuals against whom complaints have been submitted,” he said. Members of Muslim community on Tuesday submitted a complaint against three right-wing members who have been leading the protest against namaz on designated public land.
Members of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), a left-aligned trade union, also supported the dharna. “The right-wing groups want to create deep divisions in the society. The purpose is to divide the people and reap benefits but we won’t let it happen,” said Satbir Singh, vice-president, CITU.
The other groups which participated in the dharna included Loktantrik Manch, Janwadi Mahila Samiti, Students Federation of India, and Sarv Karmchari Sangh, Haryana.
Darpan Kumar Kamboj, tehsildar, Gurugram, who accepted the memorandum on behalf of the divisional commissioner said that the protesting groups had raised concern about problems being faced by members of the Muslim community in offering namaz and harassment by a few individuals. “The protesters were assured that an impartial probe will be conducted and none will be allowed to take the law in their hands,” he said.
The BJP denied allegations that it was behind the protests against Friday namaz and said that they were being carried out by local residents. “The Constitution clearly says that religion is private to citizens, and its practice too. Adhering to law and order and constitutional guidelines always helps in maintaining peace and tranquillity. Some politically motivated people always try and pin the responsibility of it directly or indirectly on the BJP and Sangh Parivar. Instead they should work this out with the administration as it is duty-bound to uphold the Constitution,” said Raman Malik, BJP spokesperson.