Call for ban on namaz in open space, disruption caused in Gurugram

Calling for a ban on namaz in open spaces across India, members of right-wing organisations allegedly disrupted Muslim devotees from offering prayers at around four places across Gurugram on Friday. The commotion came two weeks after Hindu residents of two villages in Gurugram’s Sector 53 had stopped namaaz in an open space where around 700 Muslim men gathered every Friday afternoon.

Wajid Khan, who heads the Nehru Yuva Sangathan Welfare Society Charitable Trust, said the faithful had agreed not to offer prayers at three places during a meeting with the police chief on Thursday. “We were asked not to offer prayers at 34 places, of which we agreed to three — the plot in Sector 53, at Sikanderpur and Atul Kataria Chowk, where namaz gatherings cause traffic congestion,” he said.

“At the spot near Sahara Mall, first the police did not let us offer namaz. When we finally reached an understanding with them, a group of men came and told us to leave. When a man tried to take a photo, they grabbed his phone and broke it,” Khan said. “Even at IFFCO Chowk, they chanted slogans and asked us to leave. We will meet the police chief tomorrow and discuss the issue,” Wajid Khan added.

“Eight to ten men came and asked us to leave. We have been reading namaz here for the last two years… we are not disturbing anyone,” said a resident of Jharsa village, who was among the faithful at a plot near Cyber Park.

Several outfits, under the Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti, have called for a ban on namaz in open spaces. These outfits include Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Kranti Dal, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena, Hindu Sena, Swadeshi Jagran Manch and Gurugram Sanskritik Gaurav Samiti.

Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh said, “Adequate security arrangements were made at all spots. Attempts to disrupt prayers were handled effectively by the administration.”

The district administration has directed that public land on which namaz is offered be secured and requested the Waqf Board to identify properties where prayers can be offered.

However, Waqf Board’s Estate Officer, Jamaluddin, refuted having received any such notice or direction from the district administration.

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