Former Rajya Sabha MP Mohammad Adeeb has moved the Supreme Court seeking to start contempt proceedings against Haryana’s chief secretary and director general of police for allegedly not taking action against Hindutva groups who have repeatedly blocked Muslims from gathering for Friday prayers in Gurugram, reported Bar and Bench on Thursday.
Giving in to demands of the Hindutva groups, the Gurugram district administration, in the last three months, has withdrawn permission for offering namaz at eight out of 37 public spaces that were designated for prayers.
On December 10, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had said that offering namaz in open spaces will not be tolerated.
In his petition, Adeeb has sought contempt action arguing that the police have failed to comply with the directions issued by the Supreme Court in 2018. In the 2018 case, the court had taken cognisance of mob lynching and issued directions to take measures to curb communal violence and hate crimes.
Abeed’s petition said that Muslims in Gurugram have been offering Friday prayers without causing any disturbance in open areas as the the civic body has not made enough allotment of spaces for namaz.
The petition argued that offering Friday prayers in open areas did not amount to encroachment of land as it has been approved by the municipal and the police authorities.
The petition added that in the last few months, there has been an increase in incidents of Muslims being prevented from offering namaz by certain “identifiable hooligans”, who portray themselves falsely in the name of religion and seek to create an atmosphere of hatred and prejudice against one community, reported Live Law.
“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 Namaz, 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,” it said.
Abeed, who is a resident of Gurugram, said that in April 2021, a police complaint had been filed against a person identified as Dinesh Bharti, who claimed to be a member of a vigilante group called Bharat Mata Vahini. The petitioner claimed that Bharti is one of the key perpetrators of repeated demonstrations against offering of namaz in Gurugram.
The petition said that the Gurgaon unit of Jamiat Ulama-e–Hind had filed two more police complaints on the matter.
“Despite the above complaints, there remained severe inaction at the hands of the contemnors and the incidents grew both in intensity and number every Friday at various locations in Gurugram,” the plea said.
The petitioner claimed that as the police took no action, on December 3, the incidents escalated and larger groups gathered at various sites of namaz, shouting slogans.
“While a considerable number of police forces were present, despite the same videos emerged clearly showing such persons as having no fear of law,” the petition said. “The police reportedly detained some persons from the mob, but the same were subsequently let off the same day.”
Incidents of disrupting Friday prayers
Before the chief minister’s statement on December 10, members of Hindutva groups had gathered in an area reserved for namaz outside the Sector 37 police station. They conducted a condolence meeting for Chief of General Staff General Bipin Rawat, who died in a helicopter crash on December 8.
On November 5, members of the Hindutva groups had organised a puja, after which they spread cow dung across the ground. At the same site, on November 7, those who gathered to prevent the prayers had claimed that a volleyball court will be set up there.
At another designated namaz site in Sector 37 of Gurugram, the groups had protested on November 20 against Muslims offering prayers, claiming that they wanted to play cricket there. The spot was a playground.
The groups had also organised a havan ceremony on November 26 at the site designated for namaz in Gurugram’s Sector 37 to mark the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and performed a Govardhan Puja in sector 12A.