Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar said that Muslims should not do Friday prayers in open spaces in Gurgaon, reversing a prior deal – struck following conflicts with Hindus in 2018 – that allowed namaz at specific locations in the city.
Mr Khattar’s remarks came amid a simmering feud between the two communities, which has seen right-wing Hindu organisations harass and threaten Muslims seeking to pray at agreed-upon locations.
The Gurgaon government is renegotiating with all parties concerned, according to the Chief Minister, and will come up with a “amicable solution” that does not infringe on anyone’s rights.
People should pray in their homes and other places of worship till then.
Mr Khattar, speaking to reporters, said, “I’ve spoken with the cops, and this situation must be rectified. We have no objections to people praying in houses of worship. Those locations were created specifically for this reason.”
“However, these should not be carried out in public. We would not accept the practise of performing namaz in public “The Chief Minister reiterated his position.
He stated the administration will figure out how to help release Waqf-owned land and locations that have been encroached upon.
Right-wing parties have been vocal in their opposition to Namaz offered outside on government-owned land, going so far as to dump cow excrement on a prayer spot last month. At other times, Muslims who were calmly worshipping were greeted with chants of “Jai Shri Ram.”
Tensions rose in October when a group of people disrupted prayers in Sector 12-A, which locals alleged were associated with right-wing organisations. As Muslims prayed, video from the area revealed a significant police presence; 30 demonstrators were detained as a result of the event.
Following this, the Gurgaon administration announced on November 2 that Muslims would not be allowed to worship at eight of the 37 previously agreed-upon locations. Permission had been revoked for other sites after “objections” from locals, according to the administration, and permission would be revoked for other sites if similar “objections” were raised.
Other “objections” made include assertions that “Rohingya refugees” in the area exploit the prayers as a pretext to commit crimes.
Mr Khattar said everyone had the freedom to pray when the protests first made headlines, but added a proviso, saying “those performing prayers should not stop road traffic.”
People must be permitted to worship if the areas have been designated for such reasons, according to Union Minister Krishan Pal Gurjar, the junior Social Justice minister, whose constituency is in Haryana.
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