Gurugram: Muslims to approach court for relief in namaz controversy

Updated on Nov 26, 2021 01:35 AM IST
Residents and members of rightwing organisations in Gurugram have been disrupting namaz in the open since September, saying public places cannot be used for the purpose and that Muslims must pray at homes or in mosques or buildings controlled by the Waqf Board.
Gurugram, India - Nov. 19, 2021: Muslim devotees offer Namaz in the open at Leisure Valley , in Gurugram, India, on Friday, November 19, 2021. (Photo by Vipin Kumar/ Hindustan Times) (Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)
Gurugram, India - Nov. 19, 2021: Muslim devotees offer Namaz in the open at Leisure Valley , in Gurugram, India, on Friday, November 19, 2021. (Photo by Vipin Kumar/ Hindustan Times) (Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)

With disruptions of namaz gatherings in the open continuing to take place every Friday in Gurugram, members of the Muslim community on Thursday said they have no option left but to approach the court, seeking relief from the continuous harassment and uphold their constitutional right to religious freedom and worship.

cBut Muslim groups have maintained that the number of mosques in the city is not adequate for Friday congregations.

As protests that started in Sector 37 spread to Sector 12A and other areas, Gurugram administration earlier this month reduced the number of public sites for namaz from 37 to 20. But disruptions continued even at these designated points until last Friday.

Muslims said apart from taking legal recourse, they would also file complaints with the police against individuals and organisations for hurting religious sentiments. “We have little hope from the authorities, so we are planning to approach the court to enforce our constitutional rights. We have also decided to lodge complaints against those who have harassed our community members,” said Altaf Ahmad, founder, Gurgaon Nagrik Ekta Manch, a citizens’ platform. He said they were still working out the details of which court to approach and when, among others.

On Thursday, a few Hindu residents of Khandsa Village submitted a memorandum to the district administration opposing Friday prayers near Khandsa Chowk.

Rajiv Mittal, spokesperson, Sanyukt Hindu Sangarsh Samiti, an umbrella group of rightwing organisation opposing namaz in the open, said the protest in Khandsa will be led by residents but they will support it.

“The memorandum to oppose the namaz has been submitted by residents of Khandsa Village and those living in Sector 37. We will support the protests and, if need be, gather there,” said Mittal, adding that they have already given a deadline of December 4 for stopping such public prayers.

HT has a copy of the memorandum received by the administration but none of Khandsa residents, who submitted it, could be reached for a comment.

Mittal also said around 30 persons from the Sikh community are coming from Delhi and Amritsar to oppose the proposal of offering gurdwara premises for Friday prayers.

Last week, Sikh community leaders offered the premises of gurdwaras for namaz, but withdrew the offer a couple of days later under pressure from rightwing groups and also from those within their community.

Sardar Raviranjan Singh, vice-president, Gurmat prachar Jatha Panch Khalsa, said Sangat members will reach the gurdwara in Sadar on Friday to prevent namaz on the premises. “People from all community are welcome to pray and share the langar prasad but we will not allow namaz or any other religious worship that is not permitted by the Gurmat Rehat maryada,” he said.

The Gurugram police, meanwhile, said personnel will be deployed at all designated spots to maintain law and order. “Duties have already been assigned and adequate deployment would be made to maintain law and order so that there is no disturbance during Friday prayers,” said Subhash Boken, police spokesperson.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Abhishek Behl is principal correspondent, Hindustan Times in Gurgaon Bureau. He covers infrastructure, planning and civic agencies in the city. He has been covering Gurgaon as correspondent for the last 10 years, and has written extensively on the city.

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