Srinagar: The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a former ruling ally of the BJP in Jammu and Kashmir, on Wednesday described the Uttar Pradesh administration’s ban on offering namaz at local parks “a deliberate move to isolate Muslims”.
“The ban and many such measures are only aimed at isolating and demonising Muslim community. Such designs of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his ilk must be defeated by the country’s saner voices in unison,” said senior PDP leader and former Cabinet Minister Naeem Akhtar.
Referring to the earlier petition of the BJP filed before the Supreme Court (SC) on “mosque not being central to the practice of Islam”, Mr. Akhtar said: “It is a cruel irony the government is even squeezing public places for Muslims to pray. Even on the lands owned by the Waqf Board, new mosques are not allowed to be built in many parts of the country, including UP.”
The PDP leader, while pointing at the Gurugram mosque episode earlier this year, said, it was unfortunate that Sangh Parivar was not taking the message from the recent reverses. “The message is bold that India is not a place to play communal politics. Many people may have problems with it but praying publicly has historically been the part of the culture of this country and Maha Shivratri, Durga Puja, Dussehra, Christmas and many other religious festivals are celebrated in public places since ages,” said the PDP leader.
Such bans unfortunately disenfranchise Muslims. “We hope saner voices, an overwhelming majority, will rise up to this new trend and defeat the designs to create a communal cauldron out of a country that is proud of its multicultural and multi-religious ethos and its mosaic of diversity,” he added.