Two days after it was sealed on the grounds that it was located within 300 metres of the IAF ammunition depot, where any new construction is prohibited as per an order of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, a mosque in Gurgaon’s Sheetla Mata colony is likely to be de-sealed this evening, with divisional commissioner, D Suresh, issuing an order to this effect in the afternoon.
“There is a provision in the law that if a structure is sealed, and people appeal against it, it can be de-sealed. The mosque will be de-sealed by this evening,” said the divisional commissioner.
The decision was made following a meeting between members of the Muslim Ekta Manch, the Gurgaon Nagrik Ekta Manch, and the divisional commissioner.
“A delegation met the divisional commissioner today and apprised him of the situation. We told him that the sealing was discriminatory and the mosque had been singled out since there are a lot of other structures in the area as well, but no action has been taken against them,” said Rahul Roy, an independent filmmaker who is a member of the Gurgaon Nagrik Ekta Manch.
Reiterating this point, Haji Shehzad Khan, Chairman of the Muslim Ekta Manch said, “People had claimed to officials that the mosque was still under construction and we had started reading namaz there only a few weeks ago. We went with documents and paperwork to prove otherwise and requested the divisional commissioner to remove the seal.”
Following the meeting with the delegation, the divisional commissioner held a meeting with the deputy commissioner, Vinay Pratap Singh, among other officials, after which a decision was made to de-seal the structure. Officials say this will be done by 4 pm today.
The mosque had been sealed on Wednesday, a week after Hindu outfits had protested against the use of a loudspeaker at the establishment, claiming the call to azan was a cause of disturbance for residents. Officials, however, had claimed that the decision had nothing to do with the controversy, and the mosque had been sealed because it lay within 300 metres of the ammunition depot. 10 other structures had also been sealed on the day.
Members of the Muslim community had been sitting in protest outside the mosque since Wednesday evening but were dispersed by police personnel on Friday morning, as they worked towards maintaining law and order during Jumu’ah prayers that took place this afternoon.
Thirty-six duty magistrates were also deployed across Gurgaon to ensure law and order was maintained during Friday prayers.
“Police personnel approached us and asked us to disperse from in front of the mosque, which we did. Officials have reassured us that the mosque will be de-sealed by the evening,”said Chairman Khan.
“Jumu’ah prayers did not take place at the mosque today, but Friday prayers at other spots across the city have culminated, and proceeded peacefully this afternoon,” he said.