GURUGRAM: Amid protests by local right-wing outfits against offering namaz in the open, Haryana home minister Anil Vij said on Sunday that everyone should hold religious events inside their places of worship. People belonging to any faith should avoid organising such events on roads or public places without the permission of the local administration, Vij added.
“Everyone should organise their religious activities at their respective religious places. People should refrain from organising religious events on roads and public places without permission from the local administration, and it should be applicable to all,” the minister told reporters in Ambala.
The comment comes on the heels of the recent protests by some local groups against namaz offered in the open. Right-wing groups in Gurgaon have been demanding that Muslims be allowed to offer namaz “only at mosques and idgahs”. Recently, the Gurgaon Police had also arrested around 25 people, including members of right-wing outfits, for trying to disrupt Friday prayers.
On November 5, the Samyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti, a conglomerate of local outfits, organised Govardhan puja at a ‘designated’ namaz site in Sector 12. The event was attended by BJP functionaries like Suraj Pal Amu and Kapil Mishra among others. Objecting to anyone occupying a public place to offer prayers, Mishra had said, “If people from different religions, faiths and sects keep occupying open public spaces on one day every week, it will result in blockade of all the roads and parks.”
Meanwhile, citing “objections from local residents and resident welfare associations”, the district administration last week withdrew permission for namaz at eight of the 37 ‘designated’ sites in the city.
The Muslim community has now urged the civic authorities to clear encroachment from around 19 properties of the Waqf Board. They have also formed a 21-member panel to open a dialogue with the local authorities and political leadership of the state in the matter.
The community has maintained that they were forced to offer namaz in open areas as the number of mosques in Gurgaon was insufficient. “There are not enough mosques in Gurgaon and it is convenient to offer namaz close to workplaces. It hardly takes a few minutes,” Mohd Adeeb, chairman of the panel, said. Opposition to namaz in open areas, he added, was a recent development and the general public still had no issue with.


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