Ex-Parliamentarian Moves Indian Supreme Court Over Disruption of Friday Prayers in Gurugram
07:55 GMT 17.12.2021 (Updated: 18:55 GMT 19.10.2022)
Tensions flared up in Gurugram city after some Hindu organisations opposed Muslims offering Friday prayers in open spaces. In order to improve security in the city, the state government had set aside 37 places earlier for Muslims to offer their Friday prayers.
An ongoing row over Friday prayers' offering by Muslims in Gurugram, a city in India's Haryana state, has now reached the doorstep of the Supreme Court of India after a former parliamentarian filed a plea in the country's top court.
Mohammad Adeeb, a former member of the Rajya Sabha (the upper house of Parliament), has filed a petition in court, seeking action against the state officers for failing to stop the disruption of Friday prayers in Gurugram.
He has accused the Haryana state chief secretary and the Director-General of Police (DGP) of failing to comply with the court's directions regarding taking measures to curb communal and violent sentiments that result in hate crimes.
The petition seeks action against Chief Secretary Sanjeev Kaushal, DGP P. K. Agrawal and others.
Adeeb has cited a previous order of the Supreme Court on measures to be taken to “curb the communal and violent tendencies that result in penetration of hate crimes”, given in the Tehseen S. Poonawalla vs Union of India case of 2018.
The Supreme Court had then directed governments to adopt a three-pronged approach – preventive measures, remedial measures and punitive measures – to ensure that no group of persons or organisations take law in their own hands and to identify such tendencies to make sure no untoward incident takes place.
Talking to Sputnik, Adeeb said: “I had to file the petition in the Supreme Court on Wednesday because the police failed to act, despite repeated complaints along with all the proof. All the complaints were received but the action was never taken. The inaction of police and administration has disturbed the communal fabric of the city.”
“For the last five-six weeks, Namaz (Muslim prayer) has been disrupted, even at those spots which have been earmarked by the administration," he said.
"All this happens at the behest of identifiable hooligans who are trying to create an atmosphere of hatred and prejudice against one community and sadly all we see is serious inaction on the part of the state administration,” he added.
The Haryana state government had earlier earmarked 37 places for Muslims to offer Namaz (on Fridays) which were later reduced to 20. However, last month, State Chief Manohar Lal Khattar said that Muslims wouldn’t be allowed to offer Namaz in open spaces.
Last Friday, the permission for the sites was withdrawn by the administration after State Chief Khattar said the practice of offering Namaz at public spaces will not be tolerated as it is leading to controversies and confrontations.
The state chief then said that new sites will be earmarked after discussions among the Muslim groups, Hindu groups, and the district administration.
However, as of late Thursday evening, no fresh order was issued by the administration for the prayers.
“At least, the administration should release a new list of designated places so that we can inform the members of the community, and they can gather there on Friday to perform prayers. Senior officials are not giving any clear answer,” Adeeb said.
“There are certain rituals related to Friday prayers but still I have made an appeal to Muslims to try to offer prayers in mosques which are in the vicinity of the city or at home. The law and order situation must not be compromised. We should not give a chance to those who want to disturb the communal harmony,” he added.
Adeeb also said that the lawyers have informed him that the petition will be listed for hearing in the Supreme court in the first week of January.
Soon after the petition was filed by Adeeb, Hindu organisation Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti accused him of "instigating" people and warned against offering prayers in the open on Friday.
Since September, some Hindu groups in Gurugram have been objecting to and protesting against Muslims who offer Friday prayers in public spaces. In October, 30 activists were detained while opposing Muslim men during their Friday prayer.