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'BJP wants to send message it can disrupt namaaz'

Last updated on: May 08, 2018 11:07 IST

'Muslims have been observing namaaz for so many years.'
'The BJP wants to divide Hindus and Muslims for political gains.'
'This is happening in Haryana even though Muslims are only present in one district of Haryana.'

IMAGE: For the last two weeks, Muslims observing namaaz in Gurugram have been disrupted by some right-wing organisations, who allege that they are attempting to grab land. Photograph: Danish Ismail/Reuters

In the wake of alleged disruptions to namaaz by right-wing groups at multiple locations in Gurugram, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Sunday, May 6, said such congregations should be restricted to mosques, eidgahs or private places, even as he asserted the state government will ensure that law and order is maintained.

Over the last two weeks, some individuals -- alleged to be members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Bajrang Dal, the Hindu Kranti Dal, the Gau Rakshak Dal and the Shiv Sena -- tried to disrupt Friday prayers in Gurugram, alleging that they (the Muslims) were trying to grab the land.

Speaking about the issue, Khattar on Sunday said, 'Our point of view is that namaaz should be offered in the precincts of religious places like mosques and eidgahs, and if there is shortage of place for offering namaaz, it should be done at private places.'

The Bharatiya Janata Party is "trying to divide society before the 2019 general elections," Congress leader Captain Ajay Singh Yadav, Haryana's former finance minister, tells Rediff.com's Syed Firdaus Ashraf.

 

Why has the practice of Muslims observing namaaz in parks suddenly become an issue in Gurugram?

The main aim of the BJP is to divide society on communal lines ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Muslims have been observing namaaz for so many years. The BJP wants to divide Hindus and Muslims for political gains.

This is happening in Haryana even though Muslims are only present in one district of Haryana.

The BJP wants to send a message out to the country that they can disrupt namaaz.

It is very unfortunate that even Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said that namaaz should be offered in the precincts of religious places.

The BJP must find a solution. I know it is an inconvenience to people when they come out (on the roads) for namaaz, but the government must allocate proper spaces for namaaz.

Is namaaz offered in public spaces five times a day?

No. It is not happening five times a day. They are doing namaaz only on Friday. I think in the morning they observe it and then they go to work.

There are 115 spots in Gurugram which are open, and right-wing organisations accuse that Muslims are involved in land jihad in the name of namaaz and that they will soon build colonies here.

The government can allocate place for namaaz.

There is no dearth of places in Gurugram. They can give one or two places for namaaz. So where is the problem?

If that is the case, why didn't the Congress government allocate spots where Muslims could observe their prayers?

These people have disturbed peace in the country in the name of the Ram Mandir. Why have they not built the Ram Mandir yet? Now they have forgotten the Ram Mandir. They have forgotten the cleaning of the Ganga. After the 2019 elections they will forget this namaaz issue too.

At that time, the issue did not come up.

The issue has now been raised only for political gains.

These people will disturb namaaz.

They have disturbed peace in the country in the name of the Ram Mandir. Why have they not built the Ram Mandir yet?

Now they have forgotten the Ram Mandir. They have forgotten the cleaning of the Ganga.

After the 2019 elections they will forget this namaaz issue too.

In 1995, the BJP-Shiv Sena government had given extra space to Muslims in Mumbai so that they build mosques and avoid occupying the roads. Why didn't the Congress do something similar in Haryana?

Let the BJP do it in Haryana. It is the government's job to find a solution like the Maharashtra government did. So let the Haryana government do it now.

I am not even an MLA, I am just the ex-finance minister of Haryana.

What is the population of Muslims in Haryana?

It is very less. They are restricted to two areas: Mewat and Yamuna Nagar.

Muslims from Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh come here for work. They have settled in Gurugram.

In an article in The Times of India, you asked 'don't we do yoga in parks?' But yoga is not religious.

How much time does namaaz take? It takes maximum 15 minutes or 30 minutes. Not more than that.

Do people practice yoga in parks in Haryana as you say?

People do yoga in all the parks. They sing songs and perform yoga.

I feel that for namaaz, they can be allotted certain places so that people don't get inconvenienced.

The government has to find a solution.

Syed Firdaus Ashraf / Rediff.com