Gurugram mosque remains shut, Friday prayers peaceful across city
Amid rumours that the mosque in Sheetla Mata Colony, which was sealed by MCG on Wednesday, might be unsealed, the district administration clarified that no such order has been issued. Muslim Ekta Manch leaders said they met the divisional commissioner to seek his intervention.gurgaon Updated: Sep 15, 2018 04:58 IST
Amid rumours on Friday that the mosque in Sheetla Mata Colony, which was sealed by the MCG on Wednesday, might be unsealed, the district administration clarified that no such order has been issued.
The representatives of Muslim Ekta Manch and Gurgaon Nagrik Ekta Manch said they had met the divisional commissioner on Friday afternoon to seek his intervention in the matter.
“We told the divisional commissioner that the mosque was constructed in 2016 and is not under construction at present, as claimed by some civic officials. Documents were submitted as proof and he agreed to intervene,” said Haji Shehzad Khan, chairman of the Muslim Ekta Manch.
The MCG had sealed the mosque and 10 other buildings in the area on the grounds that these had been built after a direction of the Punjab and Haryana high court in September 2016, which stayed new construction in the 300-metre radius of the Indian Air Force (IAF) ammunition depot in Sector 14.
“There is a provision in the law that if any authority seals a structure, and a satisfactory appeal is made against it, the authority can unseal it. This (sealing) has all been done as per the law,” said Suresh, the divisional commissioner, said on Friday afternoon, after meeting the representatives of the Muslim Ekta Manch and Gurgaon Nagrik Ekta Manch.
A release by the district administration later in the evening said that “an appeal can be made in the court of divisional commissioner against the MCG’s or the deputy commissioner’s direction (to seal the mosque). Till now no appeal has been filed by any party before the divisional commissioner hence, the divisional commissioner has not issued orders to unseal any of the properties.”
Suresh and deputy commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh did not respond to calls or text messages seeking comment on the issue in the evening.
An MCG official said, seeking anonymity, “The structures were sealed as per directions of the high court as such and cannot be unsealed on the directions of any official. It would amount to contempt of court.”
The mosque, established in a three-storey residential building, was sealed a week after residents protested outside the mosque on September 5, against the newly installed loudspeaker on the premises, complaining that the call to prayer was loud and caused disturbance. They approached Gurugram police, which acted as a mediator, and asked the people present inside the mosque to lower the volume of speakers.
“The structure is clearly illegal as it has been constructed after the Punjab and Haryana high court’s direction. If the district administration has decided to ignore this fact, then what precedent does it set for other illegal buildings in the area?” said Rajeev Mittal, spokesperson, Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Kranti Dal.
On Friday evening, the MCG issued a release on the ‘illegal structures in the 300-metre restricted area’ but did not make any direct comments on unsealing the mosque.
“Any new construction in the 300-metre radius of the IAF ammunition depot is restricted and action on either sealing or demolition has been continuous. Some new illegal structures have been identified, action against which will be taken in the near future. The district administration and the MCG, in compliance with the directions of the Punjab and Haryana high court, will continue their action,” said Yashpal Yadav, the commissioner of MCG, in the release.
Following the sealing, local Muslims had been sitting outside the mosque on a dharna. On Friday morning, around 11pm, Gurugram police officers dispersed the group to ensure law and order is maintained.
“We warned the people sitting on dharna that they were obstructing the right of way and that they can only assemble at designated spots. We also told them if they didn’t comply, it would lead to arrests. They obliged without any resistance,” said Sandeep Malik, assistant commissioner of police, Udyog Vihar.
“There were over 150 police officers on the spot to the ensure law and order is maintained,” said Malik.
In anticipation of the Friday prayers, which were to be held in the afternoon, the district administration also deployed 36 duty magistrates at different spots in Gurugram to ensure namaz was offered peacefully.
In addition, Gurugram police detained 12 people belonging to right-wing outfits, including Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati, the national convener of the Akhil Bharatiya Sant Parishad.
“He had threatened to self-immolate. So, we detained him and 11 others under Section 107 (likely to commit breach of peace or public tranquillity) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1973. They were taken to the headquarters of deputy commissioner of police Kulvinder Singh and subsequently, released on bail,” said Subhash Boken, public relation officer of Gurugram police.
In the evening, local Muslims flocked to the mosque in Sheetla Mata Colony in anticipation of the unsealing. However, the mosque remained closed.
First Published: Sep 15, 2018 04:58 IST