Hindutva Fringe Groups' New Goal: Prevent Muslims From Offering Prayers

7 May 2018 12:43 PM GMT
Hindutva Fringe Groups

On May 4, almost 1,000 Muslims were stopped from offering their Friday prayers on open plots at 10 locations in Gurugram – plots they had been using to offer namaz for the last 20-25 years.

The disruption was similar to the one that occurred on April 20 when merely eight men chanting “Jai Shree Ram” forced about 500 Muslims to stop offering namaz at a vacant plot in Gurugram’s Sector 53. The goons were outnumbered almost 62 to one yet, forced each and every Muslim to roll his mat and vacate the government land.

Six of the eight disrupters were arrested. A local court granted them bail but this did not stop Hindutva groups from protesting to demand that the case registered against those goons be withdrawn and a city-wide ban be imposed on prayers by Muslims in open spaces near Hindu-dominated localities.

Members of 12 Hindutva groups including Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Kranti Dal, Swadeshi Jagran Manch, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Jagran Manch, Bharat Bachao Abhiyan and Gurugram Sanskritik Gaurav Samiti, submitted a letter addressed to CM Khattar and deputy commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh alleging that the worshippers, under false pretext of praying, chanted anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans. They claimed that Muslims wanted to occupy land illegally. Hindutva groups brimming with patriotism wanted to “save” government property from men who did nothing but peacefully pray.

Muslim residents who were shooed said they aren’t allowed to talk to one another during namaz hence, chanting slogans was out of the question.

But Hindutva groups called themselves “patriots” for stopping Muslims from the alleged sloganeering. They screamed, “Jai Shri Ram” and “Vande Mataram” to assert their dominance.

“Does chanting ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Jai Shri Ram’ come in the ambit of offence that the youth were arrested?” they questioned in their letter.

Gurugram Shiv Sena president Gautam Saini was among the protesters. He opined that the worshippers were a “threat to women and children of the village”. He said that identity of the men offering namaz (who are as much Indians as him) is difficult to establish and that they could be “Rohingyas, Bangladeshis or Mewatis.” He also said that Muslims should be given permission to offer namaz in places with over 50% of their population. His comments did not take into regard our forefather’s vision of India as a secular country.

What followed was public notices being put up at the disputed sites, saying that the land belonged to HUDA. Muslims stopped reading their Friday namaz at the plot near Wazirabad, Gurugram.

Muslims worshippers were attacked at 10 different places on Friday. Haji Shehzad Khan had filed the police complaint in the Wazirabad matter. He said there were 7 lakh Muslims in Gurugram and only 22 mosques, so they are usually left with no option but to offer prayers in open spaces. “We are not disturbing anyone”, he said, reported Hindustan Times.

While Khan said they wish to “find a way forward”, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar backed right-wing groups that created the disruptions. He said on Saturday that namaz should only be read in Mosques or Idgahs. The CM did not echo the same views on prayers offered by other faiths.

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