Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal on Friday said that the offering of namaz in the open could not be tolerated and a fresh approach would be taken to work out an amicable solution to the matter. He added that all designated places for namaz in Gurugram have been withdrawn.
“The tradition of offering namaz in the open cannot be tolerated, but an amicable solution will be found to it. We will try to find how they can get back the encroached Waqf Board land, or they can offer namaz at their homes. We will not allow any confrontation. Some decision was reached after the talks, but the designated places have been withdrawn. We will approach the matter in a fresh manner,” said Mr. Lal, speaking to media persons after a meeting of the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority.
On December 6, a group of imams aided by the “RSS-inspired” Muslim Rashtriya Manch in a joint meeting with the district administration and right-wing groups had agreed not to hold Friday prayers at 20 designated open places and instead sought half-a-dozen new places on rent. A day later, the Gurgaon Muslim Council rejected the proposal as “fraudulent” and said Muslims would continue to offer Juma Namaz at all the 37 sites agreed upon in 2018.
Mr. Lal said he had directed the Deputy Commissioner and the Police Commissioner to resolve the matter. The Chief Minister added that all religious activities should be confined to religious places only.
‘Allocate us land’
Responding to the CM’s statement, Gurgaon Muslim Council member Altaf Ahmed said the Muslims of the city were forced to offer Juma Namaz in the open as the Haryana Shehri Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP) had not allocated land to them and all their applications were rejected and earnest money refunded, including the latest application submitted in October this year.
“The Waqf Board and administration have not been able to get Waqf properties back from encroachers for a very long time. Now the Chief Minister has said that 37 approved sites in the open need to be reworked between the administration and the Muslim community. We request him to instruct HSVP to allocate us land in multiple sectors to build multi-storey mosques and that shall be the end of the Juma Namaz row,” said Mr. Ahmed, in a statement to the media.
Earlier, the protests against the offering of Friday prayers in the open continued for the third successive week in Sector 37. The Council decided in the morning not to offer Juma Namaz in Sector 37 in view of the right-wing groups’ plan to hold a programme of devotional songs at the site. The protesters parked several trucks and cars at the namaz site in the sector and also held a condolence meet paying tributes to Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, his wife and others who died in a helicopter crash on Wednesday.
Though the Council had urged Muslims to stay away from Sector 37 until the situation defuses, a few reached the site to offer prayers, leading to a verbal confrontation between the two groups.
Mr. Ahmed said Friday prayers were offered at 15-odd places in the city.