Members of Hindutva groups on Friday again disrupted offering of namaz in Gurugram’s Sector 37 area. They shouted “Jai Shri Ram” slogans while Muslims were offering prayers. This is the third consecutive week that Hindutva group members have disrupted namaz at the site.
Following protests, the police detained 30-40 people from Hindutva groups and Muslims were allowed to offer prayers on some portions of the ground in the presence of heavy security.
The police were already present at the spot as Hindutva groups had on Thursday threatened to stop Muslims from offering Friday prayers in public places. Members of the groups had parked their trucks at the ground, claiming they did not have space to park them elsewhere. Men wearing saffron scarves also shouted slogans calling for namaz to be stopped.
Shehzad Khan, who is the head of the Gurugram-based Muslim Ekta Manch, could be seen in a video at the site praying on Friday for unity between Hindus and Muslims.
Last Friday, members of the Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti, an umbrella body of 22 Hindutva groups, along with residents of Gurugram’s Khandsa village had held a havan at the ground. Ritual fires were lit, they claimed, to commemorate the 2008 terror attack in Mumbai.
Muslims could not offer namaz as the ground was occupied.
Heavy police force had been deployed at the ground last week too, as Hindus of Khandsa village had on November 24 written to the district deputy commissioner complaining that local children were not able to play cricket on a field due to Muslims offering prayers there.
The protests by Hindu groups against offering of namaz started earlier this year in Gurugram’s Sector 39. Over the past few weeks, the protests spread to corporate blocks of Sector 43 and 44, the housing colonies and factories of Sector 18, the automobile markets of Sector 12 and apartments in DLF Phase III.
The Hindutva groups are also unhappy with Sikhs offering to allow Muslims to offer namaz in their premises.
Since 2018, periodic protests by Hindutva groups have shrunk the number of open spaces where Muslims can pray in Gurugram. With every round of protest, the administration has urged Muslims to give up a few of the spaces where they used to pray.
Three years ago, local residents told Scroll.in, there were over 100 open spaces where Muslims had the district administration’s permission to pray. After a meeting held on November 3, that number has come down to 20.
The Hindutva groups have vowed to keep agitating until there are no more open spaces for Muslims to pray in.
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