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Namaz in the open - religious right or road ruckus?

 


A letter to the DCP


The Gurugram police headquarters were in a dilemma over a 'reminder letter' in the last week of October. The Sanyukta Hindu Sangharsh Samiti, a combination of 22 right-wing organizations, made this submission. They wanted a prohibition on offering namaz in public areas, or they'd start a protest in Haryana. The letter's primary signatory was Mahavir Bharadwaj, the organization's president. The fundamental motive for the prohibition was to promote peace and harmony among commuters. According to the letter, Deputy Commissioner Yash Garg was approached. However, he declined to take action. They claim that at a meeting three years ago, it was (unanimously) decided that no religion would use public highways for religious purposes. The Chief Minister praised this initiative at the time. People are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the route divergence on Fridays due to the Jumma Namaz.


The extent of freedom by Article 25


In this context, Altaf Ahmad referred to Article 25 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees religious freedom to all people. He added that in Gurugram, not enough land had been set aside for the construction of mosques. The community is requesting that the government release more land and that they bear the cost of construction. Right-wing groups fear that this is a pre-planned move to occupy the area for illegal Bangladeshi immigration. Muslims have expressed strong opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Bill, prompting speculation that it is a covert act of protest. Although, there is no tangible evidence to support this theory, as per reports. Two Muslim organizations-The Indian Islamic Research Centre (IIRC) and the Muslim Minority Trust, had previously requested land for mosques. However, their appeals were denied without a proper response in writing. They desired Sector 43 since it was the best position for serving Muslims on Golf Course Road. It is important to remember that the population of any religion, whether Hindu or Muslim, will grow with time, but if more land is provided to them proportionately, we would soon reach a stalemate.


Encroachment or propaganda


The Waqf board claims that the properties have been encroached upon or that antisocial forces are stopping them from gaining access to those properties. According to a district administration survey, this land is clear of encroachments, and the appropriate authorities are eager to assist them in obtaining possession. The Waqf board, on the other hand, remained silent and continued to argue that they were being discriminated against. In addition, Mahavir Bharadwaj chastised the administration for failing to identify Rohingya refugees. According to Muslim leaders, the police are being pressured not to grant more land to mosques. This blame game cycle has been on the roads for long without any solutions. The growth of a particular community cannot be the cause of commotion for all others. Hindu festivals are often targeted for their ornate settings, but it's worth noting that they only happen three or four times a year, whereas Jumma namaz is a weekly event. Imagine if the Hindu community said that every Hindu needs to perform Surya Namaskar at one time and day outside. Would the roads be able to bear this? Before encouraging such traditions, it is crucial to examine their long-term viability.


Should we follow in the footsteps of the West in terms of “Secularism”?


Secularism connotes the separation of religion from the state, encompassing both freedoms of following any or no religion and equality in all citizens irrespective of faith. The word might be contemporary, but its roots are found in ancient and medieval India too. Kautilya, the first political thinker of India, suggested the division of matters into departments headed by the state and religion. The king (with his ministers) would be in charge of the state, and the priests would take care of religious affairs. Secularists are often seen lamenting the present state of communal hatred, and some slur them as 'leftists.' The real supporters of secularism do not side with particular religious groups. They speak against the overwhelming presence of religion in the public sphere. We could also move towards the western model of secularism, which centres individual rights over community rights. Applying this principle, the plight of commuters would weigh heavier in this matter. Religion was created by humans to unite us through a spiritual bond, not to separate us on concerns of civil liberty and humanity.


Unprejudiced facts


Despite the Supreme Court's injunction that religious ceremonies be prohibited on public highways, the namaz obstructs vehicular traffic every Friday. Isn't it a violation of each citizen's religious freedom- when other religions have to listen to public namaz? The Supreme Court set a noise limit of 75 decibels during the day and 70 decibels at night, yet the noise level was 120 decibels on Eid-e-Milad. The police administration, on the other hand, has chosen to ignore the court's order. The court also stated that loudspeakers would be used from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. However, this does not apply to the mosque's morning prayer. In addition, when a misfortune vocalist tweeted ab. Further, when an unfortunate singer tweeted about this, he was threatened by Islamic priests.


The subject of law and order, not communal harmony


The main issue here is not the Ganga-Jamuni heritage, but the condition of the average man. Legally, Article 25 does not encompass public places so using it as a defence for clogging roads is unsubstantiated. Occupying streets is not an essential part of any decision and, even if it was so, religious activities should be in tandem with the country's law. However, how Hindu right-wing forces dealt with the situation was insufficient. If the namaz continues, Dinesh Bharti has threatened to come with a sword, citing sections 295 A and 506 of the Indian Penal Code (deliberate and intentional conduct intended to outrage the sentiments of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) (criminal intimidation).


As cliched as it may sound, the solution to the problem lies within the problem itself. Religions must develop as much as the times. It is necessary to change practices that are inconvenient to the broader public. For instance, the namaz can be held in homes or terraces if the mosques cannot accommodate everyone. Reservations can be made for space in mosques on special days so that most people get the chance to pray as they want. Maintaining law and order is the primary duty of every citizen and is the prerequisite of development.


 


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