A day after namaz was offered at 47 places across Gurgaon — as agreed upon by Gurgaon Police, the district administration and representatives of the Muslim community — the Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti has said that it will press for Friday prayers to be held at just five sites. Members of the Samiti said they intend to meet the deputy commissioner in the coming days to discuss the matter.
“Among the demands communicated to the commissioner was that namaz be read in not more than five open spaces, which do not have a masjid within a two-km radius. The reduction in the number of places where namaz was offered is a positive sign, but we are pressing for that figure to be reduced to five. We are planning to meet the deputy commissioner and Gurgaon Police to agree upon a deadline for the same,” said Rajiv Mittal, national general secretary of the Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Kranti Dal, one of the outfits that is part of the Samiti.
Of the 47 places where prayers were offered Friday, 23 were “open spaces” while 24 were masjids or properties belonging to Waqf board. Before the protest by various outfits, namaz used to be read at around 100 vacant plots and parks.
Deputy Commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh said, “No site has been selected by the administration. The community, after discussion with the administration, agreed to offer prayers at these sites. The exact number of open spaces will be decided during further discussion with groups.”
The row over reading namaz in the open began after a group of men disrupted Friday prayers at a vacant plot in Sector 53 on April 20. Six people had been arrested and were released on bail soon after.
However, outfits in the city, which formed the Samiti, have since demanded a ban on reading namaz in public spaces, and that the case against the six men be revoked. On Friday, prayers were offered amid the presence of police and 76 duty magistrates, and no violence or friction was reported.