Malick Asghar Hashmi/Gurugram
The Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee has opened its doors to Muslims for saying congregational Friday prayers, and a local youth Akshay Yadav has asked them to use his properties for the same purpose in Gurugram, Haryana, in the National Capital Region of Delhi.
This has helped bring down tensions that had surfaced after some people objected to the Muslims saying prayers on the roads and blocking traffic on Fridays. The authorities had also withdrawn the permission given for the prayers on Friday.
The industrial city of Gurugram, a densely populated city in Haryana, lacks mosques. There are six mosques in the city at Sadar Bazar, National Highway, Sector 56, Pataudi Chowk, Sarai Alaverdi. Being a business city, people from the cities of Delhi and NCR also come here to do jobs and business. A large number of them are Muslims. This creates a big space crunch for Muslims to pray in a congregation on Fridays.
Hindu groups protesting against namaz being held on roads
Due to this, a large number of people are compelled to offer Friday afternoon prayers in the open field or on the roadside. The same situation often occurs in Eid and Bakrid. On these days the congregation affects the traffic and causes inconvenience to people.
Making use of this, some fundamentalist elements have not only raised a voice against the roadside namaz they even tried to obstruct the Friday prayers many times. A BJP leader organized Govardhan Puja in the same place where the Muslims prayed in Sector 12 of Gurugram. Before the dispute escalated, the administration withdrew the permission given for Namaz on Fridays.
Several people were arrested in Sector 12 for disrupting Friday prayers by some organizations last week.
In 2018, the district administration had designated 37 places in the city for Friday prayers, Some Hindu groups had been consistently opposing it.
Leaders of Muslim and Sikh community at local Gurdwara
An organization had also tried to obstruct during Namaz at a site in Sector 47. State Home Minister Anil Vij has advised people of all religions to refrain from performing religious rituals in the open.
Amidst this, the Sikhs of Gurugram announced to open the doors of their Gurudwaras for Friday prayers.
Apart from this, Akshay Yadav of Sector 12 has also taken a similar initiative.
He has opened his vacant shops in Sector 12 for the Friday prayers. Akshay Yadav says that given his problem, he has been permitted to offer Namaz in his shops on Fridays.
Besides, Gurdwara Guru Singh Sabha, Gurugram, has also announced to open five of its Gurdwaras for Friday prayers. The Sabha says that the doors of their gurudwaras are open to all communities.
The local Gurdwara
Sherdil Singh Sandhu, president, Gurdwara Guru Singh Sabha, said that Muslims are facing difficulty in offering Friday prayers due to paucity of space. They can use the space in Gurudwaras.
JP Singh, Vice President of the Sabha, said that the Sikh community is always ready to help others as the Gurudwara complex is open to anyone for offering prayers.
More than 2,000 people can be accommodated for Friday congregations in the five Gurdwaras. Meanwhile, Gurugram's Sadar Bazar Gurdwara has also announced a place for Muslims to offer Namaz.
On the controversy over Friday prayers, Akshay Yadav said, "I offered my property to the Muslims because they are facing problems after objections raised by various organizations." Shahzad Khan of Muslim Ekta Manch has also welcomed the initiative of the Gurudwara and Akshay Yadav. He says that this will increase brotherhood in the city.