Hindutva groups prowling the streets of Gurugram, Haryana, may have celebrated too early, when they regularly disrupted Friday namaz with protests over the past two months. The intensity of these communal disruptions grew over the weeks, even after the Gurugram administration withdrew permission to offer namaz at eight public sites in the city.
Hindutva’s cheerleaders such as Kapil Mishra and others even attended a Govardhan Puja at Gurugram’s namaz site. The Govardhan Puja, was organised by the Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti, at the Sector 12A Gurgaon, at site where till then, Friday namaz had been taking place. He claimed this as a victory for the right-wing campaign to stop namaz being offered at designated public spaces. “There will be no namaz at public spaces, we have not taken the responsibility of where it can be held. Go anywhere else,” he told media persons at the spot. The prayers were conducted, later supporters chanted Hindutva slogans.
However, the attempts of communal right wing forces have recently been taught a public lesson in communal harmony by Gurugram’s Sikhs community. Sherdil Sidhu, head of Gurugram Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, told the media, in the presence of Mufti Mohammad Saleem, president of the Jamiat Ulama in Gurgaon, that the Gurudwara of Gurugram Sadar Bazar will be opened this Friday for Muslims to offer namaz, if Hindu organisations protest Muslims praying in congregation.
Sherdil Sidhu told NDTV that this was an attempt to “save the country” and that “the Gurudwara is open to all. A Muslim brother also lived with Guru Nanak. Muslim brothers have also given their lives for the country.”
Earlier, a Hindu businesman, Akshay Yadav of Sector 12 of Gurugram, said his 100 yards shop was open for Muslim community to offer Friday prayers. According to a news report, he said that if Muslims wanted, they could offer Namaz in the courtyard of his home too. “I have been in Gurgaon for 40 years. Born here, I will not let it break. There are many people like me who are ready to give their place for Namaz,” he told the media. According to The Indian Express, 15 people had offered namaz at his shop last Friday.
According to Indian Express, Mufti Mohammad Saleem, president of the Jamiat Ulama in Gurgaon, said they met representatives of the gurdwaras Wednesday, and decided to offer namaz at Sector 39 and Sadar Bazar this Friday. Sherdil Singh Sidhu, president of the Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Sabzi Mandi, Gurgaon, told IE, “People from all communities are welcome to come here and pray. If the Muslim community is facing problems in praying at designated sites, they can offer prayers in the gurdwaras. The doors of gurdwaras are open to all.” The five gurudwaras in Gurgaon under the committee’s administration are located in Sadar Bazar, Sector 39, Sector 46, Model Town and Jacobpura, stated the news report.
Here is what has happened at Gurugram’s namaz sites so far:
Just a few days after the Gurugram administration withdrew permission to offer namaz at eight public sites in the city, the Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti, invited Kapil Mishra to attend a Govardhan Puja at Gurgaon namaz site at the Sector 12A Gurugram, a site where Friday namaz had been taking place. He claimed this as a victory for the right-wing campaign to stop namaz being offered at designated public spaces. “There will be no namaz at public spaces, we have not taken the responsibility of where it can be held. Go anywhere else,” he told media persons at the spot.
The administration cited “objection from local residents and resident welfare associations” as the reason for doing so. There were 37 designated sites approved by administration, before some local residents backed by Hindutva groups began objecting to the congregational Muslim prayers. The cancelled sites are: Bengali Basti in Sector 49, V block DLF phase 3, Surat Nagar Phase 1, outside Kheri Majra village, near Daulatabad village on Dwarka Expressway, Sector 68 near Ramgarh village, near DLF square tower, from Rampur village to the Nakhrola road. According to news reports, there is still no decision taken yet on the designated namaz sites in Sector 47 and Sector 12-A. These two spots were the focus of the Hindutva group’s ‘protests’.
Gurugram administration has formed a committee comprising a Sub-Divisional Magistrate, an Assistant Commissioner-level police officer, members of Hindu and Muslim communities and social organisations. This committee will decide the final list of places where namaz would be offered in the city.
On Friday, October 29, Gurugram police reportedly detained around 30 people. Chanting “Jai Shri Ram” and “Bharat Mata ki Jai”, Hindutva groups had once again set off to disrupt Friday namaz in Gurugram, for almost the fourth week in a row. Muslims offering prayer on a private property in Gurgaon’s Sector 12-A “had to deal with a massive crowd that gathered shouting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans” This week too the right-wing crowds of “protesters” chanted their slogans, taunting the local administration, to “wake up.”