Thirty people were detained in Gurugram on Friday after they protested against the offering of namaz in a locality, NDTV reported.
Hindutva organisations have been protesting against Muslims praying in public places in Gurugram’s Sector 47 for over a month now. Last Friday, they also held a protest and disrupted the offering of namaz in the city’s Sector 12A locality.
The residents of Sector 47 alleged that prayers were being used by some “mischievous elements” as a pretext to commit crimes, NDTV reported.
In Sector 12A, the protestors claimed that the place where Muslims were offering namaz was not on the list of over 30 places designated for the prayers in 2018. Instead, it was private property, they claimed.
On Friday, the protestors again tried to disrupt prayers being offered in the city’s Sector 12A locality. Videos on social media showed them shouting “Jai Shri Ram” and “stop namaz in the open”.
Gurugram’s Sub-Divisional Magistrate Anita Chaudhary said the administration had tried to hold talks with the protestors over the last few weeks, NDTV reported.
“We have detained people who were here [in Sector 12A] to disrupt namaz,” she added. “We have taken swift action today [Friday].”
The Gurugram Police have stepped up security measures amid the protests. Five hundred police officers have been deployed at five namaz places in the city to ensure the prayers are not disrupted, the Hindustan Times reported.
“We will not allow anyone to disrupt the Friday prayers and we will not let people take the law into their hands,” Assistant Commissioner of Police (Sadar) Aman Yadav told the newspaper.
On Tuesday, Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti – an umbrella body of 22 Hindutva organisations – had submitted a memo to the Gurugram deputy commissioner demanding that the district administration stop Muslims from offering namaz in public places on Fridays.
“We are giving a polite warning...We won’t submit more memorandums,” Mahavir Bhardwaj, Haryana unit chief of Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti had said. “It will then be the responsibility of the administration to maintain peace, not ours. We are ready for lathis, we are ready to go to jail...But this will not be tolerated.”
But Muslims said they were forced to offer namaz in the open because the authorities had not given them enough land to build mosques.
Altaf Ahmad, a local leader Muslim leader, had said that the community will pay for the land and build mosques. “Till that time, we should be allowed to pray our obligatory namaz in the open,” he had added.