Gurgaon Namaz Row: Despite Gurdwara’s Gesture, Muslims Fear Right-Wing Backlash
There's fear among the Muslims over right-wing groups creating a ruckus outside gurdwaras.
The Gurudwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha in Sabzi Mandi, Gurgaon, opened its doors for the Muslim community to offer their Friday prayers in five gurdwara premises on 17 November.
However, two days later, on Friday, no namaz was offered in any of the gurdwaras due to two reasons: first, Friday was Gurpurab, and second, there was fear among the Muslim community that the Hindu right-wing groups would create ruckus outside gurdwaras.
Daya Singh of the gurdwara committee told The Quint, “Members of the Muslim community were supposed to read their prayers today (on Friday), but there has been so much conflict that they said they didn’t want to trouble us on the day of a Sikh festival.”
For a few weeks now, several sectors of Gurgaon have witnessed hatred and disruptions by right-wing Hindutva groups and members of resident welfare associations (RWAs) against Muslims reading the Friday prayers, Jumme ki namaz, in open spaces.
'Muslims Have Read Namaz Sitting in the Hearts of the Sikh Community'
The Gurgaon Muslim Council said in a statement on Friday evening, "Today, Muslims may not have read namaz at a physical space of the gurdwara; however crores of Muslims in India have read namaz sitting in the hearts of the entire Sikh community."
They alleged that "members of the right-wing groups were using condemnable tactics to mount pressure on the gurdwara committee to stop Muslims from offering namaz on the gurdwara premises."
"Since the noble gesture was a tight slap on the face of right-wing groups, they came back only to spread hatred and communal disharmony."Gurgaon Muslim Council
Last week, however, in a display of brotherhood and unity, Akshay Yadav, a Hindu business person had offered the premises of his shop for namaz in Gurgaon's Sector 12.
On 19 November, though not under a blue sky, members of the Muslim community read the jumma ki namaz in his garage in the automobile market.
Claims of Land Jihad: Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti
Meanwhile, Kulbhushan Bharadwaj, legal-advisor of the Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti (SHSS) – the body that had organised the Govardhan Puja on the namaz site in Sector 12 – was also present in the gurdwara to distribute booklets.
Bharadwaj is the one who, on 5 November, had raised the slogan, “Sector 12 jhaaki hain, pura Gurgaon baaki hai,” during the puja.
Talking to The Quint, Bharadwaj said that they will continue to work to shut down all designated namaz sites and like before, raised fears of "land jihad".
Muslims and Sikhs Offer Their Respects at the Gurdwara
Later in the day on Friday, members of the Gurgaon Nagrik Ekta Manch, Mohd Adeeb and Altaf Ahmad, along with others, were welcomed by Daya Singh as they arrived to wish Sikhs on Gurpurab.
Members of the Gurgaon Nagrik Ekta Manch then offered their respects along with the committee members.
When asked why the Friday prayers weren’t offered, Altaf Ahmad said, “We knew that the right-wing members were planning to protest. Since it’s Gurpurab, we didn’t want to cause any trouble to the Sikh community.”
Moreover, Gurgaon Nagrik Ekta Manch said they have "reached out to all residents of Gurgaon to reject the campaign of hatred initiated by some vigilante groups in the city."
Daya Singh added that there shouldn't be any problem if people offer namaz in a park or any open space. He said, "If I can go do surya namaskar or if five of us go read gurbani in a park, then why can't a Muslim offer his prayers?"
On being asked if the gurdwara premises will be open next week for the Muslim community, Singh said, "For next week, it will be decided again by the committee if they (Muslims) will be allowed to offer namaz."
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