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GURGAON-Locals launch a sit­in stir against sealing of mosque

September 14, 2018 06:03 AM


Kartik Kumar kartik.kumar@htlive.com
Locals launch a sit­in stir against sealing of mosque
Leaders of Muslim Ekta Manch have said they will take up the issue with Gurugram police commissioner, seeking his intervention in the matter
› We wish to reiterate that the mosque was the target of right­ wing outfits. However, we are determined to continue our sit­in till the seal is removed and the mosque is thrown open to worshippers again.
HAJI SHEHZAD KHAN, Muslim Ekta Manch

GURUGRAM: Muslim Ekta Manch leaders, along with other members from the Muslim community, on Thursday, continued their dharna outside the mosque in Sheetla Mata Colony that was sealed by officials of the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) on Wednesday.

■ On Wednesday, the MCG sealed a mosque in Sheetla Mata Colony on the grounds that the structure was illegal.
The leaders said that they will be take up the issue with deputy commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh and police commissioner KK Rao in the coming days. Around 40 protestors sat on a dharna on Thursday, as regular visitors to the mosque offered prayers in the open.

“For the first time in nearly two years, I couldn’t offer namaz inside the mosque. I am a simple man, and don’t understand the complexities of law and religion. I just hope that the issue is solved before the Friday prayers,” said, Rashid, a resident.

Around 20 to 30 people offer namaz in the mosque inside a three-storey residential building on a daily basis, with the highest occupancy recorded on Fridays, members of the Muslim community said.

“We wish to reiterate that the mosque was the target of rightwing outfits and it was pressure from these groups that led to its sealing. However, we are determined to continue our sit-in till the seal is removed and the mosque is thrown open to worshippers again. As members of the minority community, we have decided to approach the deputy commissioner and the police commissioner, seeking their intervention in undoing what the MCG has done,” Haji Shehzad Khan, chairman of Muslim Ekta Manch, said.

Aftab Ahmed, vice president of Haryana Congress, lent his support to the protesters on Thursday and was seen interacting with members of the Muslim community.

“I assured people sitting outside the mosque that they will receive support from the Congress in their fight against the injustice meted out to them. We also wholeheartedly support their decision to stage a sit-in outside the mosque,” Ahmed said, holding the BJP government in the state responsible for this situation. State BJP leaders lost little time to hit back at the Congress, saying that the comment by the Congress leader will only fan unrest.

“The remark by the Congress leader will trigger tensions and polarise communities. The Congress is trying to protect an illegal structure. If they have any proof attesting to the legality of this structure, they should present it before the public,” said, Raman Malik, spokesperson for the BJP in Haryana.

On Wednesday, MCG officials sealed 11 buildings at Sheetla Mata colony, including the three-storey mosque, as these structures have come up after September 2016, within a 300-metre radius of the ammunition depot of the Indian Air Force. They said these structures were built in violation of a direction issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The move came a week after members of some right-wing groups allegedly held protests outside the mosque following the installation of a loudspeaker on its premises, claiming that the prayers were “too loud”.

Following the sealing, the Gurugram police deployed close to 100 personnel at the spot to ensure law and order. On Thursday, more than 40 police personnel were present at the spot.

“There was sufficient police force on the ground and no untoward incident was reported. We will continue to monitor the situation closely,” said inspector Narender Kumar,sho, Sector 5 police station

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