Gurugram has been witnessing severe protests for the last couple of months, where Hindus are staging dharnas against Muslims who were offering namaz on public land. At least, 30 protestors were detained by the police who aimed to disrupt the namaz. Hindus were holding up placards that read: “Offer Namaz in Mosques”, “Stop it, Stop it”, and “Gurgaon administration, wake up from your sleep”.
These intense protests forced the Gurugram administration to withdraw permission given to the Muslim community to offer namaz at eight out of 37 designated sites. The local administration also stated that it may further revoke the permission to the other designated namaz sites if the locals raise their objections to it.
The Gurugram administration has also constituted a committee that comprises of an SDM, an assistant commissioner of police, and members of religious organizations and civil society groups to hold a discussion on the issue and identify sites for the people to offer namaz in the future. The Gurugram Deputy Commissioner Yash Garg will ensure that the namaz is not offered on roads, crossings, or on other public lands. Moreover, the newly designated sites will have consent from locals.
However, the twist in this tale came later, when the Gurudwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha committee decided to offer its premises to the Muslim community for offering Friday prayers following objections over the offering of namaz in public and open places. Here it is important to note that ‘Gurudwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha’ manages five prominent gurdwaras in the city.
Daya Singh, president of All India Peace Mission and member of the Gurdwara Shri Guru Singh Sabha, said, “There is a Khalsa school adjacent to the gurdwara, we might offer that space too but the committee members will take a call on Friday around 9.30 am after a discussion. We want to help our Muslim brothers as they do not have space to offer namaz, and are facing problems. We want to spread love and harmony and this move will bring us together,” he added.
Upon this generous offer, Muslims offered Friday namaz at an open space in an adjacent school and the basement of the gurdwara. The Gurgaon Muslim Council went one step ahead and decided to hold a felicitation program in Sector 12 for the members of the Sikh community and gurdwara management for their generous offer.
However, here came another twist in this tale of so-called ‘Brotherhood’. As per the sources, several members of the Sikh community opposed the shrine management committee’s decision to allow Muslims to offer prayers there. The local Sikh residents are up against this decision and declared that they will protest if the gurdwara management committee goes ahead with the decision to offer the shrine’s premises for namaz.
Jowahar Singh, a local resident, said “They cannot offer namaz in the gurdwara. Shri Guru Granth Sahibji doesn’t permit it. The management committee allowed them to offer namaz but we are not in favor of it.”
Another prominent resident Gurcharan Singh said that “People from all religions are welcome but there can only be Gurbani in a gurdwara and nothing else. The property of a gurdwara cannot be used for any purpose which goes against the ‘Maryada’ (customs) of Shri Guru Granth Sahibji.”
This forced the Committee members to mend their ways, and that reflects in the statement of their spokesperson Daya Singh. He said that they do not allow any ritual (other than that permitted under Sikhism) in the sanctum sanctorum of the gurdwara but no one should have any objection to other empty spaces such as the basement and parking area being used for namaz.
The management committee has told the Sikh Sangat they will review the decision after the festivities are over on November 21.
Well, people are still not sure what pushed the Gurudwara committee to review its decision, but few people are blaming the local Hindutva groups for the same. It is said that the local Hindu awareness group ‘Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti’ launched a campaign to “remind the gurudwara’s committee members of what the Mughals did with Sikh gurus”.
On Friday, a group of approximately 15 men gathered outside these gurudwaras and members of the Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti brought with them 2,500 copies of a book about the ninth Sikh guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur, who was beheaded in 1675 for opposing forced religious conversions by the Mughals.
The group also urged Sikhs to remove members of the gurudwara committee who had made the offer to Muslims in the first place. By the end of the day, despite the well-publicized initiative by the gurudwaras, namaz was not held at any of the city’s Sikh shrines.
Well, the pseudo seculars or liberals may not like it, but this is the best strategy to stop this namaz jihad in the name of Ganga-Jamuni tehjeeb. The public land shall never be used for such religious activities, and if Muslims are facing challenges then they must use the WAQF properties to offer namaz.