Muslims in India are facing multi-pronged attacks. Their lives, livelihood, properties, religious places everything is under attack. They are being killed in mob attacks and communal violence. Their properties are targeted by Hindutva rioters. Their religious places are vandalized, demolished and desecrated. Their source of livelihood is destroyed. Campaign for economic activities is being run against them. They are being demonized every day by Hindutva goons and leaders through hate speeches. They are being jailed in fake cases. These all things were happening with Muslims for quite a long time. But since Narendra Modi has been elected as Prime Minister in 2014, the persecution of Muslims has become a day to day affair.
Hindutva groups started targeting new areas related to Muslim lives; It’s their namaz (prayer). They have been constantly disrupting the collective namaz of Muslims in Gurgaon.
Gurgaon is the suburb of the national capital where offices of big companies are situated. A large number of people from different states come to Gurgaon in search of jobs. People from different areas are employed with those companies and living there for a long time. Similarly, a large number of Muslims are also employed with the companies and hence living in the areas. But there are not enough mosques in the area for Muslims to offer their namaz. Hence, Muslims started offering their Juma namaz (weekly collective prayer on Friday) in open space. It takes only half an hour a week.
But this collective namaz in a week for half an hour has started troubling communal and extremist people living in Gurgaon. They started disrupting it. In April 2018, a group of people gathered at a namaz site and started chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Radhe Radhe’ to disrupt the namaz. Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Kranti Dal, Swadeshi Jagran Manch, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Jagran Manch, Bharat Bachao Abhiyan and Gurugram Sanskritik Gaurav Samiti led by Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti had protested.
After these protests by Hindutva groups against the Juma namaz, the administration in Gurgaon designated the sites where the namaz can be offered. Muslims were offering their Juma namaz at these places for the last two years. But Hindutva groups did not tolerate the Juma namaz at these designated places and started disrupting it again in October-November this year. They have been constantly disrupting Juma namaz every week. Similar tactics which were used in 2018 are now being used to disrupt it. A group of extremists started chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and other Hindu religious slogans in front of the Juma site at the time of offering prayer. On 5 November, Hindutva groups even went on to hold puja to oppose Juma Namaz. The namaz was attended by Kapil Mishra, the BJP leader who is accused of inciting riots in the northeast region of Delhi last year. During, Pooja even the ‘Goli Maro’ slogan was raised.
After constant protests by extremist people, the administration withdrew permission for namaz to be offered at 8 of 37 designated places in Gurgaon.
These so-called protests against Juma namaz are not the only attacks on the religious rights of Muslims but also a sinister plan to initialize them from public places. Hindus carries out many of their religious activities in public places. They celebrate their Holi festival, take out rallies during Kanwar Yatra on roads, and immerse their idols in rivers. No one objects to these activities in public places but the extremists target the minorities with different excuses. Juma namaz is their new target./agencies