Solidarity for Indian Muslims

India’s Muslim Friday prayers were interrupted.

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, NEW DELHI – A Gurgaon resident Altaf Ahmad was shocked when members of the far-right Hindu group Bharat Mata Vahini (BMV) came and disrupted Friday prayers at a location provided by the city government.

“Prayer is one of the pillars of our religion, and common prayer is important to us and our identities as Muslims,” ​​said Altaf, who is also co-founder of Gurgaon Nagrik Ekta Manch (Gurgaon Citizens Unity Forum) TRT world, Thursday (November 25th).

This statement underscores the plight of Muslims living in Gurgaon, where groups such as BMV and the Sanyukta Hindu Sangarsh Samiti (SHSS) are calling for the city government to end Muslim worship in public spaces. As the protests escalated, the government revoked the permits from eight of the original 37 approved sites.

Amid the ongoing controversy, support from the Hindus and Sikhs began to flow to the Muslim community. Many parties began to offer their private space for church services.

These include Akshay Yadav, a local resident willing to give up his shop, to senior journalist Rahul Dev, who is selling his house. The Sikh community also offers rooms in Gurudwaras and other private places under their jurisdiction.

It is known that Yadav had previously contacted local Muslims and tried to help them. “In the holy month of Ramadan, Yadav will open his shop for us so that more believers can pray late at night,” said Altaf.

Gurudwara Singh Sabha Committee President Sherdil Singh Sidhu made a statement saying that Muslim brothers and sisters are welcome to pray within the Gurudwara.

However, this decision was later criticized by some members of the Sikh community and right-wing groups. They claim that his words were misquoted by the media.

“My testimony was rejected by several committee members. That is why we made it clear to the Muslims that we cannot give them any space. However, they said they understood and were grateful for our support, ”said Singh.

In fact, members of the Muslim community decided not to pray in the Gurudwara on Friday because they understood that this could lead to disruptions in the regional social order.

For Altaf, the steps deserve recognition and thumbs up from Yadav or even the Sikh community. He believes these people are against oppression that is never easy, especially in turbulent times.

Given the insufficient number of mosques in the city, Friday prayers have been held in the open areas of Gurgaon for more than a decade. The city itself has about 1.5 million inhabitants, of which 4.6 percent or about 72,480 Muslims.

In the New Gurgaon area, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) provided space for a mosque in Sector 57 for the Muslim community. Old Gurgaon has several small mosques, but they are not suitable for those who live or work in all of Gurgaon.

The problem of church prayer rejection first emerged in 2018 when a group of people prevented Muslims from praying outdoors. In order to avoid conflicts, community representatives turned to the city administration.

In later discussions the government called for the prayer places to be reduced from the original 100 to 60 so that adequate security can be guaranteed.

However, the government did not accept this list and further reduced it to 37 points for the entire Gurgaon and Manesar region, including three mosques that should not be on the list of open places.

“We initially spoke out against reducing the number of prayer places from 100 to 34. But the government has told us that these places could be added once the problem clears up. So we granted your request, ”said Altaf.

Problems recently resurfaced after conditions were under control for almost two years when Dinesh Bharti, who claimed to be the head of the BMV, started attacking and harassing the remaining 34 prayer places where the government is located Promised security.

Bharti managed to stop Friday prayers in sectors 39, 40 and 43 in March and April of this year. A first informational report was filed against Bharti on April 16, promoting hostility between different groups based on religion, race, place of birth and place of residence.

After this incident, the church prayers were not offered for the next three months. But last September, when the restrictions were eased and the community prayers began, Bharti began dating BMV members again and began chanting slogans against the community prayers.

“On September 17, Bharti and several other people hurled the Friday prayer deliberately with insults and insults to the community at those who were praying,” said Altaf.

He also believes the government’s previous measures are inadequate as the Muslim community continues to be cornered.

Even to Taufiq Ahmad, who owns a shop near Yadav’s house and now uses that shop for church services, the idea of ​​the government withdrawing access to pre-approved sites makes no sense.

Ahmad also said that the Waqf agency owns a lot of land in Gurgaon, but most of it is currently invaded. This condition makes it difficult for Muslims to build a mosque on it.

“Even if we wanted to build a mosque, we couldn’t. The land we were given had been taken from us, and the land that we could ideally use was also beyond our reach. What kind of absurdity is that? ”He continued.