Gurgaon Muslim Council members to meet deputy commissioner on Monday
A delegation of Gurgaon Muslim Council will meet Gurugram deputy commissioner on Monday to ask about the alternative sites for performing Friday prayers in the city, after permission for 20 designated locations was withdrawn following continued protests by the right-wing Hindu outfits, and following chief minister ML Khattar’s remarks on Friday that namaz in open public spaces will not be tolerated.
Altaf Ahmad, spokesperson for the Gurgaon Muslim Council, said a delegation will meet the deputy commissioner on Monday since the chief minister on Friday said that the Muslims need to discuss alternative sites for Friday prayers with the district administration. “Around five lakh Muslims stay or work in Gurugram, while there are only two mosques in new Gurugram and 11 in the old city with a total capacity of 15,000 people even if offer the Juma namaz in several jamaats (shifts). Hence, it’s extremely important that alternative sites are assigned to the Muslims until the Haryana Shehri Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP) approves land for building multi-story mosques,” he said.
“The state Waqf Board and the administration have not been able to get waqf properties vacated from encroachers. Who is being held responsible for the same,” he said, referring to suggestions that the Muslims should use waqf properties to offer namaz or build mosques.
When contacted, a senior district administration official said they were waiting for “new orders from the state government”, based on which they will discuss the issue with both parties (Hindus and Muslims).
Sanjeev Balhara, assistant commissioner of police, said they have not received the new plan of action, and added that the “new orders are expected to come by Monday”. “The deployment (for Friday prayers) will be decided on Monday after fresh directions are received,” he said.
The protest against Friday namaz in open public spaces has been taking place in Gurugram since 2018. The same year, the administration designated 37 sites for Muslims to perform the Friday prayers. However, in November this year, the number of sites was cut down to 20 after members of the right-wing outfits continued to protest and disrupt prayers.
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Friday said offering namaz in public places cannot be tolerated, even as the district administration withdrew permission for Friday prayers at 20 designated sites. “Such programmes (namaz) should not be held in the open. This practice of offering namaz at public spaces will not be tolerated as it is leading to controversies and confrontations. We have given directions to the police and administration to resolve the issue amicably. We will not allow any confrontation, and try to resolve it,” the chief minister said
Hindu outfits on Sunday said the issue has been resolved, according to them, after the CM made it clear that namaz will not be performed in open spaces. They said they will protest only if people still try to pray in public spaces.
Kulbhushan Bhardwaj, legal advisor for Sanyukt Hindu Sangarsh Samiti, a Hindu umbrella body leading protests against namaz, said, “Since the government has taken a decision that a no namaz will be offered in the open, the matter is resolved. We will only protest if anyone tried to violate the order and start offering prayers in open,” he said.
Praveen Yadav, a Samiti member, said they will deploy people at a few sites. “We can’t leave the situation to police or administration. We will have to ensure that all public spaces are protected and Hindu groups are deployed to stop Muslims from performing namaz,” he said.
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