Will pray at six designated sites, areas with no disruptions in Gurugram, say Muslims
The Muslim community on Thursday said they will offer Friday prayers at the six designated sites and in open spaces where there were no disruptions last week by Hindu right-wing members, and also urged the district administration to deploy police personnel at these sites to ensure safety and security of those who gather to pray.
Last week Muslims offered Friday prayers in the open at Shankar Chowk, Udyog Vihar, Palam Vihar, and sectors 12, 29, 44, and 45. A group of Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti, an umbrella body of Hindu right-wing groups that is leading the protests against namaz in open spaces, gathered at Shankar Chowk before the namaz congregation assembled but were made to retreat by police teams deployed there.
Hindu groups have been protesting against Friday namaz in public spaces in Gurugram for the past three years. In 2018, the administration designated 37 sites for Muslims to pray on Fridays. However, last November, the number of sites was reduced to 20 after members of right-wing groups and locals started protesting against Friday prayers and disrupted namaz gatherings at several places. Muslim groups claim that they are forced to use public spaces as there are not enough mosques in the city -- there are only 13 mosques in Gurugram.
“We will, as usual, visit our designated spots to offer namaz and police will be responsible if any untoward incident happens at any of these spots,” said a senior member of Gurgaon Muslim Council, requesting anonymity.
Right-wing members said they will continue to protest against namaz in the open and will ensure no one is allowed to use any public place for Friday prayers.
Mahavir Bhardwaj, president of Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti, said, “The Gurugram Imam Sanghathan had agreed to not offer namaz in the open but Muslims are again using public spaces to offer namaz, leading to confrontations. We have already agreed to six places but they are again trying to encroach on parks and grounds which will not be tolerated. Last Friday, we did not do anything but this Friday, if Muslims offer namaz in any place other than the six designated sites, we will protest there,” he said.
Kulbhushan Bhardwaj, legal advisor of the samiti, said they are ready with teams and will keep a check on spots where Muslims offer namaz. “We will not allow them to offer prayers in the open and if they do, we will disrupt the proceedings,” he said.
Police said they have deployed a team of 50 personnel at each spot and will ensure law and order in the city.
Aman Yadav, assistant commissioner of police, said anyone caught disrupting namaz will be arrested on the spot. “No one will be allowed to visit any public place to create a ruckus. No right-wing group will be allowed to enter sites where Friday prayers will be offered,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Adeeb, a former Rajya Sabha member who is leading a 21-member committee to resolve the ongoing namaz issue, on Thursday said he was planning to approach Punjab and Haryana high court to quash the FIR filed against him and two others , registered on Wednesday on the basis of a complaint filed by a right-wing activist who has been involved in protests against namaz on public land.
The FIR was registered at Sector 40 police station under sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code. “I am consulting my lawyer to approach the high court against the FIR registered against us. The people behind this case will have to withdraw the complaint as it is baseless and mala fide,” he said.
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