Members of right-wing Hindu groups on Friday once again interrupted the afternoon namaz being offered by Muslims at a designated open site in Gurgaon’s Sector 37, leading to mounting tensions as they performed a “prayer to commemorate the 26/11 terror attacks” of 2008.
According to a report in NDTV, the Muslim group initially planned to leave the site without praying, but then around 25 people decided to go ahead and pray, but ended up offering namaz amid shouts of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ from the right-wing crowd nearby. About 150 policemen were present at the scene but only 30 stood between the two groups.
The moment the 20-minute namaz ended, two men from the Hindu group crossed the distance to claim the space. The Muslim community members decided to leave the site peacefully, the report said.
Last week, in a show of solidarity with the community, the city’s Gurdwara Singh Sabha Committee had offered to open its doors to Muslims so they could offer namaz in peace. But on Friday, the committee reportedly said that space would not be offered to the Muslims to pray because they had “not sought space for namaz”. However, the committee underlined its resolve to stand with the Muslims.
Anti-Muslim posters were also reported to have been put up outside one gurdwara, and have led to speculation about pressure from right-wing groups, some of whom had earlier spread cow dung over a namaz site.
Two weeks ago, people reportedly affiliated with Hindu groups had occupied space in the city’s Sector 12A area and claimed to be making a volleyball court. Rows of cow dung cakes had been spread across the ground. The Sector 12A site is one of 29 sites set aside for namaz after an agreement between Hindus and Muslims following similar clashes in 2018.
Members of the Muslim community have reportedly decided to approach the courts, seeking relief from the continuous harassment and to uphold their constitutional right to religious freedom and worship.