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Posted at: Sep 15, 2018, 1:11 AM; last updated: Sep 15, 2018, 11:43 AM (IST)

Row over namaz in G’gram again

Row over namaz in G’gram again
Police personnel remove members of the Muslim community from a dharna site in Gurugram on Friday. tribune photo: S Chandan

Tribune News Service

Gurugram, September 14

A few weeks after a thaw, the city woke up to a tense Friday yet again. On the one hand, Muslims sat on a dharna over sealing of a mosque in Sheetla Colony here and, on the other, Hindus, who had been on a fast for three days, threatened self-immolation over offering of namaz in the open.

Given the simmering communal tension, the police not only stepped up security at both protest sites detaining over a dozen activists threatening self-immolation, but also beefed up security around all places of namaz. The local administration, meanwhile, appointed 36 duty magistrates to tackle any untoward situation and managed to retain the city’s calm.

Both groups alleged that they were forcibly denied of their right to freedom of speech and expression.

“We were promised a complete ban on encroachment of public spaces for namaz almost two months ago, but nothing happened despite repeated reminders and thus we have to take to self-immolation to raise our demands. We have enough spaces for praying for the city Muslims, but parks and over 50 other places are being encroached upon to cater to people from Mewat and Palwal who come in trucks to pray here,” said Vikram Singh, a member of the Bharat Bachao Sangathan.

Representatives of the Muslim Ekta Manch, meanwhile, accused the administration of sealing the mosque at the behest of some Hindu leaders.

“They had a problem with loudspeaker so we reduced its volume, but still our mosque was sealed. We have right to pray and practice our religion and the administration can’t snatch it away,” said the manch in an official statement.

“The Hindu activists on a dharna outside the DC’s office threatened self-immolation, while those demanding de-sealing of the mosque, too, threatened self-immolation. We have detained ruckus creators. The namaz was carried out peacefully at designated places. We appeal to all to express their dissent or demands in a proper way rather than trying to take the city to ransom,” said Commissioner of Police KK Rao.

“There is a procedure for everything. The mosque lies in proximity to an ammunition depot where court has banned new construction. Similarly, namaz is being offered at designated places agreed upon by all stakeholders. Any protest on both issues is uncalled for and will invite penal action,” said Deputy Commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh.

Divisional Commissioner D Suresh said he had discussed the demand of Muslims with the administration, but was informed that the mosque was sealed for violating the court orders.

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