After namaz row in Gurugram, fresh controversy over Idgah land

A 2.5 acre plot allotted to the Haryana Waqf Board, in Sector 23A, has been vandalised and sealed, after protests from local resident welfare associations and Hindu majoritarian groups erupted

Published - January 15, 2023 01:34 am IST - Gurugram

The under-construction guardroom demolished by unidentified people.

The under-construction guardroom demolished by unidentified people. | Photo Credit: ASHOK KUMAR

Construction on a site for Idgah allotted to the Haryana Waqf Board in Sector 23A has been halted after protests and vandalism. The land measuring 2.5 acres was assigned by the Haryana Shahari Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP), the State’s urban development agency, in December last year. However, protests by locals, a resident welfare association (RWA) and Hindu outfits seeking its cancellation, has stirred up a fresh controversy. 

Both parties – the Haryana Waqf Board and the locals supported by the Hindu outfits – separately met the Deputy Commissioner over the matter last month. Following this, both entries to the plot have now been closed. 

Hindu majoritarian outfits and RWAs have been sporadically protesting against Friday namaz in open spaces in Gurugram for the past few years. From 2018 onwards, open spaces where congregational namaz could be offered have shrunk from 116 to six. 

The land, adjacent to a Hindu cremation ground and a private university, was allotted to the Haryana Waqf Board after a nine-year-long legal battle in lieu of around 20 kanal (2.5 acres) of land acquired by the HSVP at Chauma village in 2013. 

The board began the construction of a guardroom and a boundary wall at Sector 23A after it received a possession letter from the agency on December 21, 2022, and demarcation was done. Congregational Friday namaz and public prayers on Id were to be held there. 

However, trouble began when 10 to 15 locals and a few Hindu outfit members reached the site on December 29, 2022 and tried to stop the construction. Jamaluddin, Estate Officer of Haryana Waqf Board in Gurugram, said the matter was reported to the police and a written complaint was submitted. However, the police were yet to register a first information report (FIR). A day later, the under-construction guardroom was demolished by unidentified people. 

On January 6, Mr. Jamaluddin wrote to Vikas Dhanda, the Estate Officer-I, HSVP, saying the land would be used only for Idgah and mosque to offer namaz. He demanded that unnecessary interference of the RWA and others be stopped. 

“As of now the Waqf Board plans to construct a 10-foot height boundary wall, guardroom, and storeroom at the site. It will be used only for the purpose of offering prayers,” said Mr. Jamaluddin. He added that the site would serve the large number of Muslims staying on rent in the areas around who worked in factories and shops. “Rumours are being spread that it will be used for a graveyard, but these are baseless,” he said.

Leading the protests, former Gurugram Bar Council president Kulbhushan Bhardwaj said the construction of Idgah and masjid would not be allowed at the site at any cost. “The district administration has orally informed us that the allotment has been cancelled. If it is not so then we are prepared to go to any extent to stop the construction,” Mr. Bhardwaj said.

The residents of Carterpuri village, Om Vihar and Dharam Colony — all part of Gurugram’s Sector 23A — sought the cancellation of the allotment in a joint memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner. They contended that the land had earlier been reserved for a hospital and seemed to have been allotted for Idgah in collusion with the Waqf Board officials. The memorandum said the area had a negligible Muslim population, and the allotment be cancelled in view of the peace and harmony of the area.

Mr. Dhanda told The Hindu that the HSVP had written to higher authorities in Chandigarh seeking clarification on the land use for the plot and to dispel the rumours that the land would be used as a graveyard. He also clarified the land was not meant for a hospital, and there was a separate five-acre plot earmarked for a hospital in the area.

Mufti Mohammad Saleem Qasmi, president of Gurugram chapter of the Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind, a socio-religious organisation founded in 1919, said the administration should facilitate the construction work at the site. He asked that legal action be taken against those who had vandalised the site, and that the administration not be a “mute spectator” in the matter. 

“We have thrice applied for allotment of religious sites under the government scheme, but were never allotted the land despite there not being enough mosques to accommodate the growing Muslim population. Now, we are not allowed to construct Idgah and masjid on the land belonging to the Waqf Board. It is high time the administration acts decisively,” said Mr. Qasmi.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.