Gurugram (Haryana): The chief of Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samit, Advocate Kulbhushan Bharadwaj was sitting in the Agarwal Community Centre in Old Gurugram, after blocking the Friday prayer in Gurugram. His take goes like this: he has no grudge against the Muslim community or their prayer, but opposes only prayer in public space; after holding prayer for four days in this manner, they will claim it as an eid prayer ground and demand construction of a mosque, he argued.
Bharadwaj alleged that after prayer for two days in the park in Palam Vihar, Muslims said that it was an eid gah and put up a board as a mosque site. Following that, and as done in eidgahs under waqf property, Muslims will raise signage in these places of Gurugram.
In fact, the plot in question in Palam Vihar is a waqf land that was encroached upon, and then its land category was changed during the tenure of Bhupinder Singh Hooda as chief minister.
Another claim of Bharadwaj is that permission was granted during last Eid, but that was only for a single day. When asked whether the district administration and police wouldn't take action in that case, his reply was that it is because the authorities don't do it that his people did it by themselves. Our stand is that prayers should be held only inside mosques, eidgahs and waqf land, he said. Park is common property, and we will not allow opening it for prayer, he added.
When I raised a point that post-independence 19 mosques were occupied by other encroachers and locked and they were being used by many others and asked if he and his followers would come forward to return them, Bharadwaj responded saying that for getting them back Muslims could hold talks with encroachers or approach the court.
I cited the latest allegation that Bharadwaj and his followers had exerted pressure by threat and intimidation on Akshay Yadav and the Gurudwara Committee, who had allowed prayer space for Muslims, Kulbhushan's response was that in that case he could be booked for offences under relevant provisions.
The argument of praying without permission against facts: Mufti Saleem
Muslims, including those who stood with the BJP, rejected many of the claims by Kulbhushan's Sangharsh Samiti, which had spearheaded the attempts to block Friday prayers. Jamiatul Ulama-e-Hind leader Mufti Saleem pointed out that it was because the district administration had permitted prayer in the public space that Haryana's police offered protection when Hindutva extremists ventured to interrupt the prayers. If conducting prayer was an illegal act, the police would not have offered protection.
However, since the 3rd of this month, the district administration made a somersault and rescinded the permission granted for the prayers, under the pressure of Hindutva extremists, said Mufti Saleem. At the same time, communities other than Muslims were allotted land for places of worship in different sectors, a fact which was underlined by Bharadwajj too. He also said that Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had given all religious sects and organisations two acres each in Sector 72 of Gurugram.
But when it was pointed out that the plot was denied only for a mosque, then Bharadwaj replied, "Then let them go and ask". In answer to the point that Muslims were prepared to even buy land for a price, Bharadwaj reacted that it was for the government to ponder over.