Friday namaz passes off peacefully at most sites except 3 in Gurgaon, with ‘Govardhan puja’ held there
The Friday prayers did not happen at Sector 12, Sector 47 and Sector 18 grounds where members of Samyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti turned up to hold ‘Govardhan puja’
After much back and forth between right-wing groups including Samyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti and various local groups of local Muslims in Gurgaon, Friday namaz happened peacefully at most sites except three.
The Friday prayers did not happen at Sector 12, Sector 47 and Sector 18 grounds where members of Samyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti turned up to hold ‘Govardhan puja’. At Sector 18 ground, around 60 right-wing individuals turned up as people began to gather for prayers. The Muslims on the ground then left without holding prayers to avoid a confrontation.
“Namaz happened peacefully at all the other sites, although there was a lot of fear and caution exercised by Muslims to ensure no confrontation happened with the vigilante groups. And as per our information, prayers happened at all the other designated prayer sites,” said Altaf Ahmad, who is co-founder of the Gurgaon Nagrik Ekta Manch.
At the Sector 12A site, where the Friday namaz had been interrupted by right-wing groups over the last two weeks, a ‘Govardhan puja’ was organised by members of the Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti. It was attended by former AAP MLA and BJP leader Kapil Mishra.
Speaking at the puja, Mishra said, “Roads should not be used for politics. We had seen it in Shaheen Bagh where they had blocked all the roads. Has the CAA been revoked? Arteries and nerves, if blocked, stop the body’s movements. Similarly, if roads are blocked, the city and country stops.”
Mishra claimed that everyone had equal rights under the Constitution. “Blocking of roads cannot be a part of anyone’s religion. Gurgaon is a metropolitan city renowned the world over. Here you will block roads. You will block them in Delhi? This cannot be a part of religion,” he said.
It may be recalled that a similar speech by Mishra in February 2021 at a pro-CAA rally in Jaffrabad had triggered the communal riots in the Capital in February 2021, leaving 54 people dead and scores injured. “Whenever roads will be blocked, and people would be prevented from going to work, or children to school, there will always be a Kapil Mishra to stop that,” he had said.
Several members of the Muslim community had decided to meet on Friday to nominate 21 members to represent them for meetings with the administration and political parties. One of the members was likely to be former Rajya Sabha MP Mohammad Adeeb.
On Tuesday, Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner Yash Garg had constituted a committee comprising a sub-divisional magistrate, an ACP-level police officer, and members of Hindu and Muslim communities and social organisations to identify grounds where Friday namaz could be offered.
The meetings did not reach a conclusion as several members of the Muslim community disagreed with each other even as a section of Muslims in Gurgaon accused RSS-backed Muslim Rashtriya Manch of having hijacked the talks with the administration over the issue of Friday prayers at public spaces.