A group of residents in Gurgaon sector 47 came out in protest holding placards “stop namaz in open spaces” and “offer namaz in mosque” which compelled the Police to ask the Muslims to offer namaz away from the designated site. This incident marks the third consecutive week where such protests have been carried out by the residents, reeking of communal disharmony and intention to disturb public order and peace.
The residents have even written to the deputy commissioner raising their concerns. The spot in Sector 47 is a designated site for offering namaz, and is among the 37 such sites where prayers can be offered in the open. Such arrangements were made in 2018 and have been followed since then, as some disturbances had taken place and Muslim and Hindu communities had then reached an agreement. Yet, these residents refuse to accept this and demand written proof of such agreement and argue that they were not consulted for the same.
At 1 P.M on Friday, October 8, around 30-35 residents, carrying these placards raised ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ slogans, and gathered at the ground opposite the State Vigilance Bureau office in Sector 47. For over an hour, they sang bhajans and hymns while police placed a barricade to stop them from marching to the place where namaz was being offered, reported Indian Express.
Tulsi Devi, a resident of Sector 47, told IE, “Local residents have concerns related to security and safety. Earlier, only 20 people used to offer prayers; now there are 200. We don’t know who these ‘outsiders’ are. Petty crime has increased and it has created congestion on access roads.” Notably, among those protesting was Bharat Mata Vahini President Dinesh Bharti who was arrested last week on charges of disrupting Friday prayers in the past few months. He was arrested by Sector 50 police station and was just granted bail on Thursday as he promptly joined the protest the very next day.
Bharti claims, “This is an international conspiracy… they are offering namaz as part of this conspiracy of… love jihad, land jihad. If we don’t raise our voice, they will build a mosque here.”
Mufti Mohammad Saleem, president, Jamiat Ulama, Gurgaon, said that on Thursday evening, administration officials had requested them to shift the prayer site by a few metres as some residents had raised objections. “We complied with the request. Our only motive is to pray here in peace. There is a dearth of places where Muslims can pray — there are over 5 lakh Muslims in the city and only 13 mosques. We are praying here in the open under compulsion (majboori). Several workers from nearby come here to pray during lunch time and leave after 15 minutes. I appeal to citizens to let us pray here,” he told IE.
Altaf Ahmad, one of the founders of Gurgaon Nagrik Ekta Manch made an appeal to the administration to allocate land in sectors in Gurgaon for building mosques for them to offer namaz.