Updated: May 12, 2018 5:35:48 pm
A week after members of right-wing outfits, under the banner of Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti, disrupted namaz being read in open spaces in Gurgaon, Friday prayers were offered across the district this afternoon, under heavy police presence, with no violence or friction being reported. However, unlike the usual figure of around 100 spots, namaz was read in only 47 places, of which 23 were “open spaces” and 24 were mosques or properties belonging to the Waqf board.
The district administration, Gurgaon police, and representatives of the Muslim community had compiled and finalised this list on Thursday – combining small groups of worshippers within a certain radius, to reduce the spots where namaz is read, also making security deployment easier in the process. The deputy commissioner, Chander Shekhar Khare, had deployed 76 duty magistrates across Gurgaon to help maintain law and order.
The reduction in the number of places where worshippers were allowed to gather created chaos and confusion among them. Many missed the prayers entirely as they searched frantically for the new or alternate spaces, allotted for the purpose. Imaams leading prayers and worshippers, both estimated that close to 40 per cent people missed the prayers entirely as a result of the confusion and last minute changes. “I usually read the namaz near Medanta – The Medicity but, today, when I reached there I saw no one else from the community was present. So I ended up driving around looking for vacant plots where the prayer was being conducted”, said Farhaz, who works in a private company in the city. “I finally found this spot in Sector 47, but the namaz was already over by the time I parked my car”, he added.
At other spots, police personnel and volunteers from civil society had been stationed to direct worshippers to the closest spot where they could pray. As a result, even as the namaz began in a vacant plot opposite the Haryana Vigilance Bureau in Gurgaon, tempos and autorickshaws full of people coming from spots close by, where they would pray earlier, kept arriving. “I first went to Sohna road, where I usually pray, but when I saw no one was there. I went to Subhash Chowk, and then to Cyber Park. It was at the latter that police personnel told me to get into the auto transporting other commuters to this spot, and I finally reached here”, said Ibrahim, who hails from Uttar Pradesh (UP) and works as a helper at a private company in the city.
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However, even as prayers proceeded smoothly, workers of Hindu outfits, who have come together to form the Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti, maintained “vigil” across Gurgaon, making a list of places where namaz was allegedly being read. “We only went and checked places across the city. We did not take the law into our own hands this time, and only took note of such spots where prayers were being offered illegally”, said Rajiv Mittal, national general secretary of the Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Kranti Dal, which is one of the outfits that is part of the Samiti. “We will be holding a meeting at 4 pm today to discuss the matter, and will hand over a list of these places to the district administration and Gurgaon Police, so they can take action accordingly”, he added.
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