NEW DELHI: Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti, an umbrella body of 12 Hindu Right wing groups including Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Shiv Sena, Hindu Jagran Manch and Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Kranti Dal, among others, on Friday stopped almost 1,000 Muslims from offering namaz in the open in Gurugram, in the BJP-ruled Haryana.
The Samiti said Muslims should not offer namaz in public places as it causes inconvenience to others. “They should offer namaz at pre-designated places instead of public places like National Highway-8, Hero Honda Chowk and Sahara Mall. Our protest was for maintaining peace and brotherhood by politely asking them to vacate public places and refrain from offering namaz there,” said Abhishek Gaur, Gurugram district head, Bajrang Dal, and a key member of the Samiti.
However, Muslim leaders said while people don’t offer namaz at places restricted by the local police, the Right-Wing groups didn’t allow them to offer namaz even at other places where the cops have no objections.
A controversy had erupted on April 20 when a few men disrupted namaz in Sector 53. A case was registered by the Gurugram police and six men were arrested. A video also went viral showing six men of Kanhai and Wazirabad villages chasing away people offering namaz and raising slogans. Later, on Sunday, all the accused were released on bail and soon after, the Samiti members decided to stage a protest on May 4.
Interestingly, after the protest against namaz in Sector 53 on April 20, Haryana government allegedly put up a board on a vacant plot stating that the land belongs to the government.
So far, only one case has been registered after Right-Wing groups stopped namaz on April 20 and police claim that no fresh complaint has been filed by anyone over the incident.
“We have been offering namaz at 106 places for the last 20-25 years. Suddenly, on April 20, a group of men disrupted prayers in Sector 53 and asked people to leave. Now, they don’t want us to offer namaz in parks, gardens and other places too, as the group claims that it causes inconvenience to the public. Earlier this week, we had met Gurugram Police Commissioner and he had asked us not to offer namaz at three places, including in Sector 53. We avoided these places on Friday, but were still stopped from offering namaz in nine places including Sahara Mall, three places in Cyber City, and Sikandarpur,” Haji Shahzad Khan, a local Muslim leader and complainant in the FIR filed on April 20 incident, told TNIE.