30 detained after protests disrupt Juma prayers in Haryana’s Gurgaon again

Gurgaon (Haryana, India), October 29 (KMS): Muslims offering Juma prayers in a Gurgaon locality in the Indian state of Haryana were again faced with crowds of Hindu protesters – mostly from right-wing groups.

The protesters shouting Hindu religious slogans appeared in Sector 12-A when the Muslims were offering Juma prayers. This was the 3rd straight week Juma prayers were disrupted in the area. Last week, Muslims praying in the area had to deal with a crowd shouting ‘Jai Shri Ram’.

Police were deployed in large numbers in Sector 12-A; around 30 protesters were detained. After vociferous protests earlier this month in Sector 12-A and 47 during Juma prayers, police acted quickly today.

Visuals from today’s incident showed a small group of people (none of them wearing face masks) milling about, holding up cardboard signs and shouting “band karo, band karo” (Stop it, stop it).

Another video showed a few of them being led away by the police. A large number of cops can be seen in the clip, and police barricades have been set up all around.

Police acted quickly to contain today’s protests, the authorities said.

“Everything is peaceful here. We have detained people who were here to disrupt namaz. We tried to negotiate with them over the last few weeks (but) have taken swift action today,” Gurgaon SDM Anita Chaudhary told media.

“People have offered namaz in 37 designated places (and) full protection will be given to people who are offering namaz,” she said.

Among those challenging the namaz last week was a local lawyer – Kulbhushan Bharadwaj – who can be seen arguing with the cops. A former BJP leader, he represented the Jamia Millia shooter when he was arrested by Gurgaon Police for allegedly making communal speeches.

The week before that similarly tense scenes were seen in Sector 47 (a more urban area) when people were offering prayers outdoors on a government-owned land set aside for the purpose of prayers.

Both Sector 47 and Sector 12-A are on a list of sites that are part of 37 identified by the Gurgaon administration on which Muslims are ‘allowed’ to offer prayers. These were chosen after talks between Hindu and Muslims in the wake of similar events in 2018.