Right-wing groups double down on namaz protest, Muslims dig in heels - Hindustan Times

Right-wing groups double down on namaz protest, Muslims dig in heels

By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Dec 10, 2021 02:34 AM IST

If any right-wing outfit threatens us, or tries to confront us, it will be the administration and cops’ responsibility to ensure our safety.

The Gurugram Police and the district administration are on high alert as Muslim groups on Thursday reiterated that they will offer namaz on Friday at all 37 designated sites, and the Hindu outfits planned to disrupt them and hold religious functions at those places.

Some rightwing outfits have been protesting against offering of namaz in the open since September. (HT archive)
Some rightwing outfits have been protesting against offering of namaz in the open since September. (HT archive)

Yash Garg, deputy commissioner, Gurugram, said no one will be allowed to disturb peace in the city, and take law and order into their hands. Gurugram Police said at least five police stations were “on alert” and have been assigned duties for Friday.

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“We have elaborate security arrangements and will ensure the safety and security of people offering namaz,” Garg said.

Rajender Kumar, assistant commissioner of police, said the police will ensure no confrontation will take place at spots where trouble is expected.

“More than 100 policemen are deployed at suspected spots, and we will ensure that no confrontation takes place,” he said.

Right-wing groups have been protesting against Friday namaz in open public spaces in Gurugram since 2018. The same year, the administration designated 37 sites for Muslims to perform the Friday prayers. However, in November, the number of sites was cut down to 20 after members of the right-wing outfits continued to protest and disrupt prayers. The Muslim groups have maintained that they were forced to use public spaces since there were not enough mosques in the city.

Hindu Sena members on Thursday said they will organise a “bhajan programme” at the Sector 37 site on Friday, and have invited people to join them. They said they were planning to park cars and trucks all over the ground.

Praveen Yadav, a member of the Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti, said nobody will be allowed to offer namaz at the Sector 37 site. “The ground belongs to Khandsa village and no outsider will be allowed to encroach it. The majority of Muslims coming to offer prayers here are from Bangladesh and do not even have any identification card. They are being brought here to disrupt the peace in the city,” he said.

Altaf Ahmad, spokesperson for the Gurgaon Muslim Council, said the Muslims in Gurugram will offer namaz at all 37 sites, and the administration will be responsible for their safety. “If any right-wing Hindu outfit threatens us, or tries to confront us, it will be the responsibility of administration and police to ensure our safety. We will visit the sites only to offer namaz, and it is our right. If other groups want to give it a communal colour, they should be booked and action should be taken against those creating nuisance,” he said.

Members of the Hindu outfits added that they will protest at the Sector 44 site.

Meanwhile, members of the Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti and the Muslim Rashtriya Manch with the deputy commissioner to chalk out a plan for Friday.

Mahavir Bhardwaj, state president of Samiti, said, “The matter has been resolved as Gurugram Imam Sanghathan has agreed not to offer namaz in the open and people who have vested interests are trying to politicise the issue. Those offering namaz in public places will be held responsible if any untoward incident is reported from that site (Sector 37),” he said.

Khurshid Rajaka, coordinator of Gurugram Imam Sanghathan, who is also the national convener of Muslim Rashtriya Manch, said they have planned to offer prayers at six sites such as Shyam Chowk, Shankar Chowk , Huda land opposite Spicejet office in Udyog Vihar, Golf course, Leisure valley and Huda land in Sector 69. .

The Gurugram Muslim Council has maintained that the Muslim Rashtriya Manch was colluding with the Hindu outfits, and did not represent the Muslims in the city.

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