Gurugram: In Sector 12 of Gurugram, Muslims have been offering Friday namaz in a school basement and an empty shop.
Two weeks ago, members of the Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti, an association of several Right-wing outfits, along with BJP leaders Kapil Mishra and Suraj Pal Amu, celebrated Govardhan Puja at a namaz site in Gurugram Sector 12A. The group had been protesting against namaz being offered on public land.
After this incident, the district administration stopped Friday prayers at the disputed site. According to reports, the Gurugram district administration later withdrew permission for namaz at eight sites in the city.
Around 50-100 worshippers would offer namaz at the Sector 12A site every Friday. Mohammaz Wazib, a resident who stays behind the disputed land, said they had been offering prayers there for three-four years. “After the incident, we have been offering prayers in the basement of a school,” he added.
The school basement is adjacent to a mosque built by an organisation called the Muslim Ekta Manch. After the administration denied permission for namaz at the disputed site, some people began offering prayers inside the masjid and others in the school basement. There are three shifts and 50-60 people can offer prayers in each shift at the masjid.
Haji Shehzad Khan, the president of Muslim Ekta Manch, told ThePrint, “There are total 19 masjids in Gurugram that are shut. And there are not enough places to offer Friday prayers. Hence, these lands were given to us for Friday prayers.”
Another Gurugram resident, 40-year-old Akshay Yadav, has given his empty shop in Sector12A to workers in the area for Friday prayers.
Nadeem, a worker who has been offering namaz at the shop for the last two weeks, said, “We do not have any option, if we cannot offer prayers there, we will find another option.”
Besides the basement and shops, the gurdwaras in Gurugram, too, have decided to offer their premises for Friday prayers. However, the gurdwaras that opened their doors for namaz could not offer their premises for prayers Friday due to Gurupurab celebrations.
Meanwhile, as Muslims in Sector 12A look for new places to offer namaz, members of the Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti guard the disputed site.