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To counter namaz in open, Gurgaon residents show up with mic, sing bhajans

Prayers were offered amid heavy police presence as at least 70-80 people, carrying placards, raised slogans and tried to march towards the site. Police created a security cordon and stopped them.

Police had earlier asked members of the Muslim community to reach the site from the Subhash Chowk side to avoid a confrontation.

For the fourth consecutive week, a group of residents Friday objected to namaz being offered in the open at Gurgaon’s Sector 47 as police shifted the prayer site by 100 metres from its original spot.

Prayers were offered amid heavy police presence as at least 70-80 people, carrying placards, raised slogans and tried to march towards the site. Police created a security cordon and stopped them.

Police had earlier asked members of the Muslim community to reach the site from the Subhash Chowk side to avoid a confrontation. Aman Yadav, ACP Sadar, said, “Prayers were offered peacefully. In the last week, we have held meetings with representatives of both communities and we are working towards resolving the issue.”

At 12.40 pm, residents gathered near the site and sang religious songs and bhajans using a mic and a portable speaker. They also raised slogans against the government for failing to stop namaz in public places.

The Sector 47 site is among the list of 37 designated sites where prayers could be offered in the open, that was ‘negotiated’ by the administration after consultations with representatives of two communities, after several disruptions were reported in 2018. Residents claimed the arrangement was not permanent and permission was granted only for a day.

Taufiq, who has been coming to the site for three years, said, “This has only become an issue in the past few weeks. Some people who are trying to gain political mileage from this are creating a ruckus.”

In a letter to the police commissioner earlier this month, the Gurgaon Nagrik Ekta Manch (GNEM), a citizens’ forum, claimed that prayer sites in three sectors have been shut in the last few months.

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