Breaking his silence on the rise in incidents of right-wing groups preventing Muslims from offering namaz in open spaces in Gurugram, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Sunday said such congregations should be restricted to mosques or Idgahs rather than public areas.
“Hamara kahna hai ki jo namaj padane ke satahn hain…namaz padni hi chahiye, namaj masjid me padni chahiye, namaj Eidgah me padni chahiye aur namaj padane ka unka sathan kam padta hai to apane niji sathan par padani chahiye. Ye aese visay nahi hai jinka sarvajanhik sathano par pardarshan ho (In our point of view, namaz should be offered at their designated places. Namaz should be offered at mosque and Eidgah. If there is shortage of place for namaz, then it should be offered at personal place. These are not such issues which should be displayed at public places),” Khattar said while speaking to journalists in Chandigarh.
The CM, who will leave for Israel and UK today, however, acknowledged that it was the state’s duty to maintain law and order while saying there had been an increase in instances of namaz being offered in the open. “Its alright till no objections are raised on (offering namaz at public places). But if there are objection from any department, then we have to be carefull. So, we are keeping watch on it. It (namaz offering practice) was going well earlier but meantime there is increase in the issues of (offering namaz) at open places. So, we are taking care of it…We are counseling all that namaz should be offered at appropariate places not at public places,” he added.
“It is our duty to maintain law and order. There has been an increase in offering namaz in open. Namaz should be read in Mosques or Idgahs rather than public spaces,” Khattar said. Several outfits, under the Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti, have called for a ban on namaz in open spaces after six people were arrested on April 20 for disrupting Friday prayers at a vacant plot in Sector 53 with chants of “Jai Sri Ram” and “Radhe Radhe”.
In the wake of the arrests, protesters organised a march and handed over a memorandum to the Additional Deputy Commissioner for forwarding it to Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. On Monday, a Gurgaon court granted bail to the six accused.
On Friday, several Hindutva groups prevented prayers at three places near Cyber Park, at a plot near Sahara Mall and another spot at IFFCO Chowk. To prevent any untoward incident, the district administration has directed that public land on which namaz is offered be secured and requested the Waqf Board to identify properties where prayers can be offered.