A row erupted in a Noida housing society on the evening of March 27 after residents from two communities had arguments over offering namaz inside the society’s commercial complex. Police officers said that the situation was brought under control and force was deployed in the society.
Muslim residents of Supertech Ecovillage-2 housing society said that they had been offering namaz every year during Ramzan at a half-constructed and abandoned space on the third floor of the supermart in the society premises for about three-four years. “Nobody ever had a problem and we never disturbed anybody, but this time some men affiliated to the RSS or VHP started objecting to it. They came with mic and loudspeaker and started chanting Hanuman Challisa there,” said Inam Khan, 46, a resident of the society.
“We had made arrangements only after permission from the society management and had put a carpet, some lights and curtains for mosquitoes. We do it every year only for eight days to offer the Tarawih namaz, but didn’t know it will irk some people,” he said.
Ravi Sharma, 39, a society resident and Gautam Buddh Nagar vice-president of the VHP said that it was a security concern as “some outsiders were also coming to offer namaz there”.
“We noticed that for the last three-four days, some people who were not from our society were coming to offer namaz. We had asked the management to get it stopped the previous day. When no action was taken, we had to protest by reciting Hanuman Chalisa,” said Mr. Sharma.
“We also asked them peacefully to stop offering namaz in our society, some of them got aggressive and said they will even build a mosque here,” Mr. Sharma added.
Mr. Inam Khan, however, said that only the relatives or close friends of Muslim residents had come from outside. “Everybody likes to celebrate festivals with their loved ones which is why we called them,” he said, adding, “All society residents have always lived in harmony here but some politically motivated persons provoked everybody.”
Javed Khan, Chief Estate Manager and Facility head of the society, said that the matter had been sorted now. “Muslim residents had sought permission for some space in the clubhouse but we thought that might disturb others so we gave them this empty area in the supermart,” said Mr. Javed Khan, 29.
“Anyway, the mart has a separate gate and is practically outside the society. But when we saw the ruckus, we called the police. After discussions, the Muslims decided not to offer namaz there and we removed the tent,” he said.
Mr. Inam Khan said, “The police said only the society residents could offer namaz as people objected to our relatives so we decided we’ll make our arrangements somewhere else.”
A female resident of the society, who did not wish to be named said that most people had no problem with the namaz offering. “I was there when this happened and apart from some men, majority of us were okay with it. We didn’t even know that namaz was being offered in the supermart.
A senior officer from Central Noida’s Bisrakh Police Station said that information was received from Supertech Ecovillage-2 society about some 30-40 men offering namaz on the society’s commercial market.
“When we reached there, the residents from the Hindu community said that they had no problem with people from the society offering namaz, but claimed that some six-seven persons from some other societies were also there and objection to it,” Bisrakh SHO Anil Rajput said.
“The matter was resolved then and there and the situation is peaceful in the society. We have deployed some force for precaution. Central Noida Additional DCP Rajeev Dixit and I along with other officers also visited the society on March 28 to take stock of the situation,” he said.