Gurugram namaz row: Hindu protesters raise slogans; 6 detained
A group of right-wing Hindu protesters on Friday blocked Muslims from offering namaz (prayers) at a designated site in Gurugram, Haryana. The protesters raised various slogans close to the prayer site. The protest at Sector 37 occurred despite heavy police deployment in the area. Nearly half a dozen people were detained, the police said. Here are more details on this.
Why does it matter?
- Friday's incident highlights that communal tensions over Muslim prayers in Gurugram are far from over.
- In 2018, the district administration had designated 37 sites for offering prayers following which Hindu groups had staged protests.
- Such protests restarted earlier this year and have intensified in recent weeks.
- Gurugram administration has since withdrawn permission for eight of those sites citing objection from the locals.
15 Muslims had gathered for prayers today
Around 15 Muslims had gathered at the ground for prayers. Nearby, protesters shouted slogans such as "Jai Shri Ram" and "Bharat Mata Ki Jai." Videos from the scene showed dozens of protesters arguing with police officers, who were apparently outnumbered. Earlier in the day, locals had parked their trucks on the ground saying there was no parking space elsewhere.
'Not doing anything wrong'
"We are not doing anything wrong. This is a land in our village, how can you disallow us from coming here?" a protester was seen confronting a cop in one of the videos from the site.
Here are scenes from the site
Mayhem in #Gurgaon !— Altaf Ahmad (@JoinAltaf) December 3, 2021
It is shocking and a sad reflection of events in this millennium city of Gurgaon. Deliberate attempt to disturb #peaceful #Juma #Namaz communal harmony of this cosmopolitan city.@NagrikEkta @karwanemohabbat pic.twitter.com/eBYQaFazUu
Muslims to avoid controversial sites
Altaf Ahmad of Gurgaon Nagrik Ekta Manch said Muslims would avoid sites where protesters create a ruckus. "Wherever the situation is expected to go out of hand, we have decided not to offer namaz at those sites. We want to avoid any kind of confrontation," he told The Quint. Friday's incident occurred days after a complaint was registered against Hindu leaders over the controversy.
Why do Muslims pray in the open?
Protests over the issue have continued for several weeks now. Notably, there are 22 mosques in Gurugram, according to a 2018 report by Scroll. But many Muslims find it hard to offer prayers there due to a lack of space and time.