National

Open letter to CM Khattar over namaz issue in Gurgaon

After more than six years of my association with Gurgaon as a professional worker, on 20th April I was made aware that I am a public nuisance, by some young men full of energy but with nefarious purposes. After law took its course, I thought that matter is closed, but same was repeated again with more force on 4th May, and finally CM of Haryana Mr. Manohar Lal Khattar broke his silence.

I am appalled to observe, Sir, that rather than admitting that there is genuine crisis of mosques in Gurgaon, which is the sole reason for people gathering in open spaces on Fridays, you selectively pointed out to the people of a particular community and did not speak a single word about those who created ruckus and indulged in violence. The incidences could have turned into full-fledged riot if people offering namaz responded in same way, but they responded peacefully considering the sensitivity of the situation. I believe that religion is a private matter and should not cause disturbance to others but considering that religion is also an integral part of Indians, use of public spaces is common for religious activities, so better to regulate all and not pinpoint at one to gain sympathy and polarize communities.

Sir, I invite you and your officers to visit any of those places anytime of your choice expect Friday lunch-time, and I assure you that you won’t find a single trace of namaz being offered there. A majority of people going for namaz are office-goers, educated people and as responsible citizens, they very well understand that their prayers should not disturb others and make every sincere effort regarding the same.

The State siding with those who are taking law and order in their hands is not a welcome sign and will give them free hand. Any State authority asking not to pray on public space is reasonable but how can a bunch of people decide what their fellow citizens will or will not do. Your response to the issue is worrisome; it sends a message that you are making a distinction between citizens based on their faiths and that too your being in such an esteemed position. For a CM, these may be small one-off incidences but such things if not rectified in time can take ugly an shape later on. Please stand above the vote-bank politics and take a rational and balanced approach.

Being a believer in secular democratic values, I was not expecting such a response from a state CM. You let me down Sir!

The writer is a research scientist and holds Ph.D. Currently emplyoed in a multinational company in Gurgaon, he writes about social and political issues in country and active in Delhi's social, literary and cultural circle.

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