The Gurgaon Muslim Council (GMC) and Muslim Ekta Manch (MEM), while addressing a press conference on the issue of disruption of Friday Prayers and vitiating communal  atmosphere, at the Constitution Club of India on December 8, rejected as deceptive and fraudulent the agreement between the Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) and the Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti (SHSS) regarding offer of 18 prayer sites in Gurgaon. According to them, the issue has not been resolved but with the intervention of RSS it has become further complicated.

In the latest development, Chief Minister of Haryana Manohar Lal Khattar on December 10 said the practice of offering namaaz in open will not be tolerated, adding that an amicable solution needs to be found.

Former Parliamentarian Mohammed Adeeb, representing GMC, told the media persons, “We are here to seek your support and solidarity. We have sent reports to 18 so-called political parties to brief ground realities prevailing at Gurgaon and we urge these political parties to come forward to help us and protect and preserve the Constitution.”

Criticising the role of secular forces, former Rajya Sabha MP said, “Elections may come and go; parties may win or lose but if there is no law at all then the very soul of India will be in danger. The representatives of these political leaders should raise the issue in the Parliament.”

On the latest proposal, Mufti Mohammad Saleem of GMC said, “Out of earlier allocated 37 places to offer Namaz, we were allowed to hold prayers at only 34 locations. It is very painful that offering of Namaz by Muslims have been termed as ‘Land Jihad’. They have also spread propaganda that people from outside (Like from Bangladesh, Rohingyas) come here to offer Namaz; it is false and baseless. Also, we are blamed that wherever Muslims offer Namaz in open space, they try to build mosque over there. In the last few months the place for offering Namaz has been reduced from 37 places to only 20. Some of the right-wing leaders have also said that later on we will reduce this place from 20 to zero.”

Mufti Saleem added, “A couple of days ago the right-wing forces, after their meeting with the Deputy Commissioner, while addressing a press conference, said we have agreed for 18 locations; this is fraudulent and treacherous because in these 18 locations they have included 12 mosques and six other locations; this is not acceptable to us. For, no one is aware of these six locations. In this press conference they have said that these six locations would be new locations and not from earlier located 37 places by the administration. It is very unfortunate that four people from the right-wing are dictating terms as if they are above administration and government.”

Professor Apoorvanand, who has been fighting on this issue along with the Muslim community, said, “It is the responsibility of police and administration to maintain the tenets of the Constitution. We all know the kind of government is there and we also know that they want to ream Muslims off as second class citizens. Therefore, it is the responsibilities of the elite, who are supposed to obey the Constitution first, to act against any kind of interference, be it political or from any groups.

He added, “In 2018, when the problem started, we met the local administration. The administration said as we cannot provide security to 108 locations; therefore 37 places have been allowed. The administration said we don’t have enough force to control the disruption; therefore the number of places has been reduced. For the last three months we can see there only 15 to 20 faces who have indulged in disruptions every time. It means the police can easily identify them and can send them to preventive detention. If some people are continuously creating violence and allowing them to do so freely then it means they want the Muslim community to remain in a state of insecurity and fear.”

Altaf Ahmad, spokesperson of GMC and MEM, while briefing the entire controversy, said Article 25 of the Constitution gives us rights to freely profess, practise and propagate religion. But what is happening in Gurgaon is an attack on minorities. It is a kind of oppression against Muslims in Gurgaon.” 

He added, “In the new Gurgaon, which is proudly called as Millennium City, there is something lacking in its planning because Masjid was not allocated and there are only two mosques. These two mosques have the capacity of 1500-1800 people against lakhs of people. As a result, they started to offer prayers at 37 locations in open lands of the government with permission from the administration. Earlier, there were 108 locations but it was reduced to 37 locations because local administration said they may not be able to provide security at 108 locations against any kind of disruption by right wing elements. From May 2018, we started to offer Namaz at 37 locations.

“In March-April this year, the right-wing groups again started disrupting Namaz and within a month they disrupted Namaz at three locations. On April 16, we lodged an FIR against those who were disrupting Namaz. In the last three months there had been frequent disruptions. Our Waqf land has been encroached and there have been no efforts from the administration against those who encroached the Waqf land. Another misconception that we disturb traffic while offering Friday Namaz is a blatant lie because Namaz is offered in open land (not on road) and there is no question of traffic disruption.”

Sardar Dayal Singh, who had offered Muslims to pray Friday Prayers in the Gurudwara in Gurgaon, said what is happening in Gurgaon is not only about Namaz but it is a larger conspiracy to alienate Muslims just like efforts were made to alienate Sikhs earlier in 1983. The situation of Muslims is same what the Sikh community has been facing since 1983 after their alienation.

Haji Shehzad Khan of MEM said decades ago, we never felt any kind of problem while offering Namaz but today we feel like a fish out of water. Some elements are disrupting Namaz and spoiling the atmosphere of Gurgaon for their short-term political gains.

Social activist, S L Prajapati said even after 70 years of Independence, if we are talking to protect our Constitution at the Constitutional Club, it is very unfortunate. It is a conspiracy by RSS to isolate Muslims and they are working on this agenda.

Former Planning Commission member, Syeda Hameed and social and human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi also addressed the press conference.

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