Mosque near ammunition depot sealed in Gurugram

Muslims cry foul, accuse administration of acting under pressure from right-wing groups

Updated - September 13, 2018 08:44 am IST

Published - September 12, 2018 04:13 pm IST - GURUGRAM

 Members of the Muslim community sit outside the sealed mosque as a mark of protest at Sheetla Mata Colony in Gurugram on Wednesday.

Members of the Muslim community sit outside the sealed mosque as a mark of protest at Sheetla Mata Colony in Gurugram on Wednesday.

Tension gripped Sheetla Mata Colony here on Wednesday after the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram sealed a multi-storey mosque in the area as part of its sealing drive against illegal structures within a 300-metre radius of the Air Force ammunition depot.

Some right-wing outfits in the city had objected to the use of loudspeakers at the mosque a week ago saying that it caused inconvenience to the residents. The loudspeakers were, however, removed by the mosque committee soon after the objection.

A number of Muslims gathered outside the mosque in the afternoon and accused the administration of acting under pressure. “A temple, a church and all houses in this locality are illegal as they fall under the 300-metre radius of the ammunition depot. There are hundreds of such illegal structures. Why single out a mosque for sealing? The administration has acted under pressure from the Hindu outfits,” alleged Hazi Aleen Khan, a resident of the area.

'Pick and choose'

The locals alleged it was “pick and choose” as illegal construction was going on right in front of the mosque and all around, but the MCG chose to seal the four-year-old structure.

Mohammad Akhtar, another resident, alleged that no notice was served before the sealing. “The imam had gone for lunch around 12.30 p.m. When he returned an hour later he found the mosque sealed,” claimed Mr. Akhtar.

Later in the evening, around a hundred people sat on a dharna outside the mosque in protest against the sealing. Wajid Khan Nehru Yuva Sangathan Welfare Society chairman Hazid Shahzad Khan said the community was gearing up for a huge protest. “We met senior MCG officials and told them that the mosque was sealed purposely. They assured us of looking into the matter,” said Mr. Khan.

Independent filmmaker Rahul Roy, a member of Gurgaon Nagrik Ekta Manch, said members of the organisation plan to call upon Divisional Commissioner D. Suresh on Thursday to find out why the issue of namaz erupted every few weeks.

The MCG, in a tweet, said: “11 Illegal structures within 300 mtrs of the Ammunition depot have been sealed today. Despite repeated directions from the Administration constructions were identified ongoing at few sites. (sic)”

A joint commissioner-level officer of the MCG, not willing to be named, said that the structures were sealed randomly. MCG public relations officer Satyabir Rohilla said prior notices were not required for sealing within 300 metres of the ammunition depot.

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