Gurgaon: It was 2018 all over again during a congregation’s Friday prayers at a namaz site in Sector 40 after people owing allegiance to a local outfit gathered there, allegedly confronted the imam and told the gathering to leave.
The outfit, which calls itself Jai Bharat Mata Vahini, has allegedly been doing the same at other places where namaz is offered for the past few weeks. On Friday, over two dozen members of the outfit reached Sector 40, chanting Jai Shri Ram. They objected to namaz being offered at a public place. Sites for namaz were designated after the 2018 flare-up and Friday prayers are now offered at those spots, under the watch of police.
Abdul Hasif, the imam, told TOI a man named Dinesh Bharti led the group and asked them to stop the Friday prayers. “They told us Sector 40 residents have a problem with namaz being offered at the site. We have been offering prayers here for over a decade now and have all the required permissions, but they did not listen to us,” said Hasif, adding the same set of people had come to the site last week as well and tried to stop the prayers.
He added that in the last month, prayers have been stopped at three spots – one place in Sector 38 and two places in Manesar – by the same group. “I had gone to offer prayers when I noticed a group of men chanting slogans,” said Altaf Ahmed, who runs his own business in the city.
Heavy police force was already deployed at the site and Bharti was rounded up. “There is no place for people who want to disturb peace and harmony in society. We have already taken preventive action and we will ensure Friday prayers are offered peacefully in the coming days,” said Aman Yadav, ACP (Sadar). He added that if anyone has a problem with Friday prayers being offered, they should take it up with the administration and not disturb law and order.
Bharti told TOI he was wrongfully detained by the cops. “They detained me and misbehaved with me,” he alleged, adding his organisation wanted all prayers happening at public places such as parks to stop. “If Hindus cannot perform puja in parks, even Muslims should not be allowed to offer prayers,” he said.