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Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Gurgaon: Namaz offered at businessman’s shop, not gurdwara; protests at another prayer site

At Sector 37, 15-20 people disrupted namaz being offered at a playground, said police, adding that the protesters claimed they wanted to play cricket at the site.

Written by Abhinaya Harigovind | Gurgaon |
Updated: November 20, 2021 4:45:32 pm
At Akshay Yadav’s shop (Express)

For the second week in a row, members of the Muslim community offered Friday namaz at Akshay Yadav’s vacant shop at Sector 12. Although a committee overseeing five gurdwaras in Gurgaon had offered their premises for prayers, namaz was not offered at any gurdwara on Friday.

Around 2 pm, the shutters to the shop were opened. Yadav, a businessman, was out of town. Mats had already been laid out.

Former Rajya Sabha MP Mohammad Adeeb, who offered namaz at the shop, said, “When the gurdwara offered their premises, radicals pressured them. Last night, we got to know of this and realised the gurdwara was under pressure. They initially said we could do namaz in a nearby school. But if there is mischief… the public will be at the gurdwara. We told them we won’t inconvenience them. So, we went to thank them after the namaz.”

In a statement, Altaf Ahmad of the Gurgaon Muslim Council said, “Since yesterday, members of right-wing groups were using condemnable tactics to mount pressure on the Committee of the Gurdwara to stop Muslims from offering Jumma namaz… Since today was a big festival of the Sikh community, a huge rush of devotees was expected and we didn’t want to jeopardise security. Hence, the committee of Gurdwara Sahib and Gurgaon Muslim Council took a decision this morning to not offer namaz in the gurdwara this week.”

At Sector 37, 15-20 people disrupted namaz being offered at a playground, said police, adding that the protesters claimed they wanted to play cricket at the site. Police at the spot took them to Sector 10 police station and discussed the matter. The protesters are learnt to have told police that they would not allow namaz at the site from next week. The site is on a list of places previously agreed upon by the administration where namaz could be offered. Police said while some people were able to offer namaz, others had to leave.

Asif Khan, a shopkeeper in the automobile market at Sector 12, said most people offering namaz at Yadav’s shop work in the market or in shops nearby: “We prayed here last week as well. The week before that, we prayed outdoors, where trouble was created.” Around 35-40 people offered prayers at Yadav’s shop.

“Christians have also extended support. It’s a gracious gesture on the part of Akshay Yadav, and Sikhs and Christians to open up their places. But we realise it is not a long-term solution. Muslims will have to find ways to make sure the large population of Gurgaon can offer namaz here either by getting land from government or private land where we can pray with dignity,” said Altaf.

Earlier this month, the district administration withdrew permission for namaz at 8 out of 37 sites designated for prayers, citing objections from locals.

Daya Singh, president of All India Peace Mission and spokesperson for Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha Prabandhak Committee said, “Today was Gurupurab and there was a rush. The principle of the gurdwara is if they don’t get a place anywhere else, the gurdwara is open to all.”

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