Gurugram Namaz Impasse: Civil Society Stages Demonstration in Solidarity with Muslims

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Demonstration in Gurgaon to show of solidarity with Muslims who are facing opposition to their Friday prayers at the hands of Hindutva activists for last several months

Jamiat-i-Ulama files a police complaint against three persons associated with different Hindu groups on the issue of Friday prayers

Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India

NEW DELHI — Dozens of people from across communities on Wednesday held a demonstration outside the office of deputy commissioner in Gurugram, Haryana. It was a show of solidarity with Muslims who are facing opposition to their Friday prayers at the hands of Hindutva activists for last several months. The demonstrators submitted a memorandum on minority rights to the Haryana Governor through Duty Magistrate.

The demonstrators belonged to organisations such as Loktantrik Manch, Nagrik Ekta Manch, Janwadi Mahila Samiti, Centre of Indian Trade Unions, Sarva Karamchari Sangh, etc.

They laid the charge on “the BJP and RSS related organisations are continuously harassing minority communities and disrupting Friday namaz in Gurugram”.

“In 2018, the administration and police department had designated few locations for open namaz but now the administration has withdrawn permissions of few locations and now the Friday namaz are being offered at 20 places only. Now, those individuals who offered their space for Friday prayers are being targeted in Gurugram which is harmful to society,” Altaf Ahmad, co-founder of Gurugram Muslim Council, said in the memorandum.

“We demanded from the district administration to protect minority people during open Friday namaz and ensure places for offering namaz. Hate campaigns should be stopped against minority people and strict action should be taken against those involved in such communal activities,” one of the demonstrators said.

“We have submitted a complaint against people who are disrupting open Friday prayers in Gurugram. The district administration has assured us that police are collecting audio and video evidence against such people and after this, they will initiate action against them. We are peace-loving people and want to maintain harmony in the city,” said Haji Shahad Khan, Chairman, Muslim Ekta.

Meanwhile, Jamiat-i-Ulama Hind on Tuesday filed a police complaint against three persons associated with different Hindu groups on allegations of making communally hateful remarks targeting Muslims.

The written complaint, a copy of which is in possession of Clarion India, was submitted before Deputy Commissioner of Police, Gurugram West, seeks “appropriate action in accordance with the law immediately” against three persons for allegedly hurting the sentiments of Muslim community and spreading communal disharmony in society.

Mufti Mohd Salim Qasmi, the complainant who is Jamiat in-charge in Gurugram, however, said the police are yet to file a case. “The DCP did not assure us whether action would be taken against the culprits. He said that we should talk to the ACP (Assistant Commissioner of Police).” Salim said it appeared DCP was under pressure not to initiate action even though he was a competent authority to do so. “He is passing the buck here,” Salim said.

The three accused named in the complaint are Dinesh Bharti, Kulbhushan Bhardwaj and Mahaveer Bhardwaj who have been allegedly making provocative statements with intention of promoting enmity against Islam.

According to the complaint, Bharti’s viral videos show him ridiculing Allah and declaring that he would go after Muslims who go to offer Friday prayer with a sword. The current impasse around namaz in Gurugram began with Bharti leading a handful of supporters in early September to stage a communal protest against Friday prayer in Gurugram’s Sector 47. Since then, more and more groups have joined the hateful chorus as police seem to be looking the other way.

The complaint further alleges that Kulbhushan Bhardwaj made remarks suggesting Muslims in Gurugram do not find a place to pray because they are giving birth to more children. The statement, complaint says, is “prejudicial to maintenance of communal harmony and intended at hurting religious sentiments of Muslim community.”

Mahavir Bhardwaj is accused of making remarks of similar nature, making fun of Muslims and Allah.

Along with the written complaint, he also submitted a pen drive carrying videos of provocative remarks as evidence against the accused.

Deepak Saharan, deputy commissioner of police (west), said they have received the complaint and are verifying the facts, Hindustan Times reported. “We are investigating to ascertain the facts. No case has been registered as yet,” he said.

Muslim community waited for months before filing the complaint, Salim said, thinking the matter would be resolved amicably. “But their provocations are only escalating, violating laws and all norms of civility. They have become emboldened… Our patience and restraint are being seen as weakness and we are being suppressed. This cannot be allowed.”

Salim said the Muslim community leaders are planning next to meet the Director General of Police Haryana in Panchkula in couple of days to demand action against Hindutva supporters and groups disrupting namaz in Gurugram.

“We are in touch with our (Jamiat) central leadership and we are prepared to go to court. We want justice.”

– With IANS Inputs

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