Members of the Muslim community offered namaz at Hindu businessman Akshay Yadav’s vacant shop at Sector 12 in Gurugram on Friday. Muslims offered Friday prayers at Yadav’s shop for the second week in a row.
The Gurudwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, which administers five gurudwaras in the city, had also offered their premises for Muslim prayers. However, namaz was not offered at the gurudwaras after Hindutva groups allegedly put pressure on them not to allow it, The Indian Express reported.
For the past three months, Hindutva groups have been repeatedly blocking Muslims from gathering for Friday prayers at open spaces in the city. Because of this, the district administration withdrew permission for namaz to be held at 8 out of 37 sites that were designated for prayers.
At another designated namaz site in Sector 37 of Gurugram, a playground, a group of around 20 people disrupted prayers, the report quoted police as saying. The protestors wanted to play cricket at the site, and reportedly told the police that they would not allow namaz at the playground from next week.
At Yadav’s shop, the shutters were opened around 2 pm on Friday for Muslims. While the businessman was not in the city, mats had been laid out for the worshippers.
Asif Khan, a shopkeeper, told The Indian Express that most people who offered prayers at Yadav’s shop work at the market or at shops in the neighbourhood. “We prayed here last week as well,” Khan said. “The week before that, we prayed outdoors, where trouble was created.”
Altaf Ahmed of the Gurgaon Muslim Council said that since Thursday, Hindutva groups had been “using condemnable tactics” to put pressure on the Gurudwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha to stop Muslims from offering prayers at their premises.
“We had offered an open space in an adjacent school and the basement of the gurdwara for Friday prayers but the Muslim brothers decided not to offer namaz,” PTI quoted Daya Singh, a spokesperson for the management committee of the Gurudwara council as saying. “They did not want any issue on the occasion of Gurupurab.”
Some members of the Sikh community, however, opposed the committee’s decision to allow Friday prayers at the gurudwaras, according to the agency.
Meanwhile, members of Hindutva group the Sanyukta Hindu Sangharsh Samiti distributed books titled “Guru Tegh Bahadur-Hind ki Chadar” at the gurudwara where Muslim prayers were to take place. The members of the group stayed there till 2 pm.
In the past, Hindutva groups have sought to block namaz by claiming that they were planning to build a volleyball court, by organising a puja at a site and by spreading rows of cow dung there.
Muslims have said that they were forced to offer namaz in the open as the authorities have not given them enough land to build mosques.