GURUGRAM: The Muslim community has formed a 21-member committee under the chairmanship of former Rajya Sabha member Mohammad Adeeb to interact with the government and representatives of political parties and find a peaceful solution to holding Friday prayers in the city.
Various right-wing outfits and some local residents have over the past few weeks protested against namaz in public places. In the latest demonstration this Friday, an organisation of local outfits performed Govardhan Puja at a namaz site in Sector 12 and one of the speakers declared that those who want to offer namaz in a public place should go to Pakistan.
“The committee was formed so that we can find a solution wherever Muslims of Gurugram are facing challenges in offering namaz,” said Altaf Ahmad, a member of the committee and also part of Gurugram Nagrik Ekta Manch, a local outfit that had earlier petitioned the government to allow namaz to be conducted without disruptions in the city.
The engagement with government officials and the political leadership will start from Monday, beginning with a five-member delegation from the committee holding talks with Gurugram deputy commissioner Yash Garg. The delegation, said community members, will submit a memorandum to not reduce sites from the list of 37 places agreed on in 2018. “Instead, we need more places in newer sectors as more Muslim migrant workers have come to the city in the past 3 years,” said Altaf.
Eight of the sites have already been taken off the list, citing objections from locals and following a memorandum last week from Muslim community representatives that they were ready to stop offering namaz in the open for the sake of harmony. The district administration has set up a committee to designate afresh sites for namaz. Police had last week issued a statement, saying permission for namaz at other sites could be withdrawn if locals raised any objections.
“We’ll also seek an appointment with the chief minister and appeal to him to grant us land for building mosques in Gurugram in accordance with town planning guidelines. We’ll request stern action against those who are working towards disturbing communal harmony in Gurugram,” said Altaf, adding the committee also wanted to meet deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala and leader of opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Members of the committee are, meanwhile, trying to identify land where Friday prayers can be offered, which includes those owned by private individuals and organisations that have offered to help. Once the land is available, the committee will seek approval from the government.
Adeeb said the Constitution gives everyone the right to practise religion but a situation had unfortunately been created where those rights were being denied. “We are going to engage with the political leadership of the state with the hope to find a solution to the problem created by a group of people,” said Adeeb.
Mufti Mohammad Salim Qasmi, president of Jamiat Ulema Hind Gurugram and another member of the committee formed by the community for talks, said they are ready to bear the construction cost of mosques but need land for it. “We request the government to allot us land where we can construct mosques,” Qasmi said, adding people offer namaz close to their workplace for convenience.


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