Gurugram namaz issue: Ex-MP moves SC seeking contempt proceedings against Haryana officials

Former Rajya Sabha MP Mohammad Adeeb contended that by failing to act against right-wing groups who tried to restrain Muslims from offering namaz in Gurugram, an SC judgment had been infringed upon

Photo courtesy: IANS
Photo courtesy: IANS

NH Web Desk

A petition has been filed before the Supreme Court seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against the Chief Secretary of Haryana and the state police for not taking action against right-wing groups who tried to restrain Muslims from offering namaz in open areas in Gurugram.

The plea has been filed by former independent Member of the Rajya Sabha Mohammad Adeeb and a permanent resident of Gurugram in view of the apparent failure of the police to comply with the directions passed by the Supreme Court in Tehseen S Poonawalla v. Union of India & Ors. In this 2018 judgment, the Court had taken cognizance of mob violence and lynching and had passed directions on measures to be taken to curb communal violence and hate crimes.

"The contemnors herein have failed to comply with the aforesaid directions passed by this Hon’ble Court in view of the serious inaction of the State machinery in taking effective measures for prevention of such incidents in Gurugram, Haryana where recently there has been an admitted spurt in communal incidents over place of prayers used by one community," the petition stated, as per a report carried by Bar & Bench.

The petitioner submitted that the directions of the Supreme Court in that judgment were passed with a view to ensure that law enforcement agencies are sensitized and well-prepared to nip in the bud any such tendencies that may give rise to divisive and violent incidents.

The plea further argued that mere superficial laying down of guidelines with no implementation despite being intimated of such virulent tendencies, is precisely what had been criticised by the Supreme Court.

It is a well-known fact that the Muslim community religiously performs Friday prayers in congregation as per the religious instructions. The said Friday prayer or Jumaah Namaz is considered an essential practice of Islam, the petitioner stated.

The local Muslims of Gurugram have been performing Friday prayers peacefully without causing any disturbance, in open areas, due to the lack of allotment of any places for such performance of namaz by the municipal authorities. It is stated that offering namaz in the approved location is in no way encroachment of land, as the same has been approved by the municipal and the police functionaries.

Adeeb stated in the plea that they had been offering namaz for a few months, but recently, there has been a rise in communal incidents revolving around the said Friday prayers at the behest of certain identifiable hooligans who portray themselves falsely in the name of religion and seek to create an atmosphere of hatred and prejudice against one community across the city.

"This nefarious design is being given effect to by propagation and dissemination of hateful content through social media platforms spreading false narratives, terming the performance of Friday Namaz, which is being done in the open due to compulsion and the same is permitted by the appropriate authorities in the circumstances as being illegal and in a manner of some sort of encroachment," the plea highlighted.

Further, it claimed that persons coming to perform Friday prayers have been facing a malicious and hateful campaign at the sites of such prayers. In April 2021, a complaint was filed at Sushant Lok Police Station against one Dinesh Bharti, who claims to be a member of a self-styled vigilante group named “Bharat Mata Vahini” and is one of the key perpetrators of repeated incidents in Gurugram. The complaint stated that the said person, along with few others, was constantly creating hurdles in performance of namaz at the designated locations with no action being taken against him.

Even after filing of the complaint, the person continued to create hurdles in the performance of prayers, the plea stated. Since then, the Jamiat Ulama I Hind (Gurugram) had filed two more complaints against the miscreants and requested the police to take action in this regard. However, the police officials have failed to do so, Adeeb claimed.

"Despite the above complaints there remained severe inaction at the hands of the contemnors and the incidents grew both in intensity and number every Friday at various locations in Gurugram. As a result, on 22.10.2021, such divisive elements of the society, portraying themselves as members of far-right organisations, gathered at locations of Namaz in Sector 12A and Sector 47, Gurugram, while a few Muslims were offering their Friday prayers," the plea stated

The petitioner said that instead of taking action against the miscreants, the police choose to change the pre-approved locations of Friday prayers.

Aggrieved by the inaction of the police officials, the petitioner filed the present plea before the apex court seeking initiation of contempt proceedings for ‘wilful disobedience and non-compliance’ of the directions in Tehseen Poonawalla.

The petition has been filed through Advocate-on-Record Fuzail Ahmad Ayyubi and drawn by Advocates Ashima Mandla, Ibad Mushtaq and Akanksha Rai.

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