Namaz disruption: right-wing groups protest against arrest

 People offering namaz at Sector 53 in Gurugram on Friday.

People offering namaz at Sector 53 in Gurugram on Friday.

A day after six persons were arrested for allegedly disrupting namaz at a vacant plot in Sector 53 here, around a dozen office-bearers of various right-wing organisations held a protest at the venue on Friday seeking the release of the accused and withdrawal of the case against them.

Local office-bearers of right-wing organisations, including Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Hindu Kranti Dal, staged a protest soon after the people offered namaz in the afternoon in the presence of the police.

Six persons belonging to Wazirabad and Kanhai villages were arrested on Thursday for allegedly disrupting the prayer congregation a week ago following registration of a case on charges of outraging religious feelings, disturbing religious worship and criminal intimidation under the Indian Penal Code at Sector 53 police station on Wednesday.

Safety concerns

Gurugram Shiv Sena president Gautam Saini, who was among the protesters, said the six persons arrested were innocent since they had only asked the people not to offer prayers on the land close to their village.

“Crimes against women are on the rise across the country and it is difficult to establish the identity of these men offering namaz in large numbers near the village every Friday. It is not known whether they are Rohingyas, Bangladeshis or Mewatis. It is a potential threat to the girls and women of the village,” he said.

He argued that though permission was required for holding meetings and protests, these men were allowed to assemble anywhere for prayers without prior intimation to the administration every Friday.

Office-bearers of the right-wing organisations also held a meeting at the plot to chalk out a strategy to get the accused released.

“We have decided to handover a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner on Monday seeking immediate release of the six persons and withdrawal of the case. We will also request him to designate a place for these people to offer prayers and not allow them to assemble on roads and markets, disrupting traffic,” said Mr. Saini.

Gurugram Bajrang Dal convener Abhishek Gaur said the place where namaz is offered is close to a Sai temple and that was not acceptable.

‘Action as per law’

“We believe that law must take its own course. The men against whom a complaint was received are facing action as per law. The local administration must ensure that any religious activity performed in a public place or on government land must be done after legal approval by the local administration. Both the Constitution and law are secular in nature and efforts should be made to maintain it so,” Haryana BJP spokesperson Raman Malik said in a statement on the incident.

Hafiz Khalid, the Imam officiating the prayer proceedings at the ground, had told The Hindu that at least half-a-dozen men had come to him three weeks ago and asked him not to offer namaz at the ground in future.

He said more than a dozen men came to him again on April 20 while devotees were getting ready to offer prayers and scared them away.

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Printable version | May 22, 2022 6:52:34 pm |