Waqf Board asks Haryana govt to vacate encroached mosques, post Khattar’s remarks

Gurugram: Haryana Waqf Board has asked the administration to vacate mosques in villages nearby Gurugram’s district after Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar backing the members of right-wing Hindu groups on Sunday said that namaz should be offered in Mosques or Idgahs.

“It is our duty to maintain law and order. There has been an increase in offering namaz in open. Namaz should be read in Mosques or Idgahs rather than public spaces,” Khattar said.

According to a report by CNN-News18, the Waqf Board in a letter to district administration said Muslims in and around Gurugram face a shortage of mosques to offer prayers. The board urged the authorities to vacate around 20 mosques that have been encroached upon in the region.

“With members of other communities objecting to Muslims offering prayers in open spaces, it has become important to make available the mosques authorised for the same purpose. We urge the government to help vacate the illegally occupied mosques with due police protection. Haryana Waqf board will bear the cost of repair work and staff appointments of these 20 mosques once vacated,” reads the Haryana Waqf Board letter.

Incidents of disruption of Friday congregational prayers had surfaced, where right-wing members disturbed the prayer and chanted slogans.

Haji Ahmed from Jama Masjid told CNN-News18 that Friday prayers are offered on the streets all across the country and not just in Gurugram. “Never has a state government issued such a diktat. We urge the government to understand our plight and provide space for mosques. There is a shortage and hence open public spaces were being used for years,” he said.

Meanwhile, Haryana Health Minister and BJP leader Anil Vij on Monday stated that offering prayers at a place with the intention of seizing the land is wrong and will not be allowed. “Occasionally if someone needs to offer the namaz, he has the religious freedom to do so. However, it is wrong to offer Namaz with an intention of seizing the land. It can’t be allowed,” Vij told ANI.