It is Friday, and the Hindutva groups are at it again in Gurugram… openly accosting Muslims on their way to namaaz, and organising a public feast at a namaaz spot.
Right wing groups disrupted prayers at a park in Udyog Vihar Gurgaon. pic.twitter.com/H2qQ2pQbLG
— Pavneet Singh Chadha ? ? (@pub_neat) December 17, 2021
Vigilantism seems to have taken over law & order of #Gurgaon. Right wing groups are defining how #Juma #Namaz will be offered & where will it be offered.@gurgaonpolice @DC_Gurugram, welcome to the NEW millennium city !@NagrikEkta @karwanemohabbat @ravishndtv @leenadhankhar pic.twitter.com/Qj4nz4nOvg
— Altaf Ahmad (@JoinAltaf) December 17, 2021
What a sight .. Bhandara at the same place where Namaz was being performed ?
Gurugram Sector 37 के नमाजस्थल पर VHP एवं गांववालों की ओर से भजन- कीतर्न एवं भंडारे का आयोजन देखिए ❤️
Jai Sree Ram ? pic.twitter.com/9NY0lb9YZt
— Vikas Chopra (@Pronamotweets) December 17, 2021
Meanwhile, a contempt petition has been filed in the Supreme Court by a former independent Member of Rajya Sabha, Gurugram resident Mohammad Adeeb, against the Haryana Government for its failure to stop ‘fringe’ elements from disrupting the Friday namaz offered at designated sites in the city. Mohammad Adeeb has alleged that the state government has failed to duly comply with the ‘preventive measures’ laid down by the Supreme Court in 2018 in the case of Tehseen S. Poonawalla vs. Union of India & Ors. The court had said that mob vigilantism and mob violence have to be “prevented by governments” and had issued three-fold guidelines: “preventive measures”, “remedial measures” and “punitive measures”.
Then the court had directed “that it would be the duty of the Union Government as well as the state governments to take steps to curb and stop the dissemination of irresponsible and explosive messages, videos and other material on various social media platforms which have a tendency to incite mob violence and lynching of any kind,” detailed the Leaflet adding that the directions included “that the police should register a FIR (first information report) under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code and/or other relevant provisions of law against persons who disseminate irresponsible and explosive messages and videos having content that is likely to incite mob violence and lynching of any kind.”
However, as reports from Gurugram have revealed otherwise, every Friday, for months now, the Gurugram administration has reportedly barely gone through the motions as Hindutva groups disrupt namaaz. Last week, Mohammad Adeeb, now the petitioner in SC, and a member of Gurgaon Muslim Council, told SabrangIndia that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is in power in Haryana, is whipping up the Hindu-Muslim divide ahead of elections in Uttar Pradesh next door. And that these regular disruptions in namaaz are now picking up pace due to that even though the issue of lack of spaces for Muslims to pray at, is an issue that has been discussed for years. Following the recent attacks, the community also “submitted a report to 18 political parties in the hope that they will take up the issue in Parliament and other public fora. Communal slogans and provocative speeches are being made against Muslims, and the authorities are taking no action,” Adeeb added.
The contempt plea, filed through Advocate-on-Record Fuzail Ahmed Ayyubi, has alleged that at present “only certain elements are carrying out a hateful campaign” but inaction of police in preventing those, despite prior information repeatedly given by the petitioner and others, “is in ex facie contempt of the preventive measures passed by the Supreme Court, the petition claims.”
According to the report, his petition asserts that the open locations used for the limited purpose of performing namaaz are not in any manner of encroachment, but rather are conducted only after approval from the relevant government authorities, including the municipal and the police functionaries. It added that around 37 locations had been designated for this purpose by the police and district authorities themselves. However, in the last few months, there has been a constant rise in incidents revolving around the Friday prayers.
The plea states, “This nefarious design is being given effect to by propagation and dissemination of hateful content through social media platforms spreading false narratives, terming the performance of Friday Naamaz, which is being done in the open due to compulsion and the same is permitted by the appropriate authorities in the circumstances as being illegal and in a manner of some sort of encroachment.”,
According to the report the plea contends that since April 2021, the local residents and the persons coming to perform Friday prayers have been facing such malicious and hateful campaigns at the sites of such prayers. On April 9, the local residents of the area had given a complaint to the Station House Officer of the Sushant Lok police station in Gurugram city against one Dinesh Bharti, who claims to be a member of a self-styled vigilante group named “Bharat Mata Vahini” and is one of the key perpetrators of repeated incidents in Gurugram.
The SC petition further alleges, “The complaint had clearly stated that the said person, along with few others, is constantly creating hurdles in performance of namaz at the designated locations while no action is being taken against him.” It also mentions the incident of October 23, in which Imam Abdul Hasib, who used to perform the Friday prayers at Sector 44, Gurugram, also complained to the city’s Sadar police station, stating that certain unruly elements stalked him and misbehaved with him violently, asking him to stop performing the Friday prayers at Sector 44. However, the petition alleges that the local police, instead of taking any action against such communally divisive incidents, chose to change the pre-approved locations of Friday prayers and argues that such “apathy of the State machinery,” and failure of the law enforcement agencies and administration “is precisely what had been indicated by the Supreme Court in 2018 when it had issued preventive measures.”
The Hindutva groups have been protesting Friday namaz in open public spaces in Gurugram since 2018. It was in the same year that the city administration had designated 37 sites for Muslims to perform the Friday prayers. However, in November this year, the number of sites was cut down to 20 after members of the right-wing outfits continued to protest and disrupt prayers.
The Muslims, however, have maintained that they were forced to use public spaces since there were not enough mosques in the city. “There is no provision made in the town planning for mosques,” Md Adeeb had said, adding that Gururgram has expanded and even then the spaces for Muslims to build a mosque has not been provided.