Gurgaon: Friday namaz interrupted yet again by Hindutva outfits

Hyderabad: The Friday namaz on a private property in Gurgaon’s Sector 12-A was disrupted again by a crowd of Bajrang Dal workers shouting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans. This comes soon after tense scenes in another sector, Sector 47, where namaz offered outdoors on government-owned land triggered protests and the Hindutva group demanded that the prayers either discontinue or move indoors.

NDTV reported that in both cases, Sector 47 and Sector 12-A – the prayer sites were part of the 37 identified areas by the Gurgaon district administration on which Muslims are legally permitted to offer their prayers. The sites were chosen after talks between Hindu and Muslims in the wake of similar interruptions in 2018.

Visuals from this Friday, showed heavy police presence including members of the Delhi’s Rapid Action Force (RAF) as the Muslims in the area offered prayers. A video showed dozens of police officials standing guard behind a few metal barricades holding back a protesting crowd shouting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans.

Among those challenging the namaz was Kulbhushan Bharadwaj, a local lawyer who represented the notorious Jamia Millia shooter, after he was arrested by Gurgaon Police for his hate speeches. In the current instance, Bharadwaj can be seen arguing with the police in one of the videos. After the police offered assurances, the protesting mob dispersed.

Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar told the media last week after Sector 47 protests that everyone had a right to pray, however, “those offering prayers should not block road traffic.” He also stated that no one should hurt sentiments nor should anyone disrupt prayers… and if they are praying at designated sites, as suggested by district administration, that should not be disrupted. “The issue should be resolved amicably and the local administration is handling it well,” he added.

Protests have been going on for four weeks now at Sector 47. Residents allege that “mischievous elements” or “Rohingya refugees” use the prayers as an excuse to commit crimes in the area. ANI also remarked that the namaz was allowed on the site for only one day.

The mobs in the area have reportedly turned up their shouting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans and holding placards that read ‘stop namaz in open spaces’ or ‘offer namaz in mosques’ over the past week.

ANI quoted ACP Aman Yadav last week who is said to have stated that multiple rounds of talks with those residents has, so far, failed to yield a compromise. “We are making efforts to find a solution… residents have shown us a list (of sites) issued three years ago. We are currently verifying the list too,” he said.