In the wake of rising Covid-19 cases in Gurugram, the district administration on Thursday asked senior police officials to ensure that Covid-19 protocols are followed at all the open sites where namaz will be offered on Friday. More than 400 police personnel will be deployed at such sites to track down any violations, officials said.
“We have directed the police to keep strict vigil and to penalise people if found violating rules,” a senior official from the district administration said, adding that some members of the Gurugram Imam Sanghathan met the deputy commissioner on Thursday and assured him that protocols will be followed during the Friday prayers.
According to officials, the Gurugram police commissioner has directed all police stations to deploy a team each to ensure that people follow guidelines in areas such as Udyog Vihar, sectors 37, 44, 10, 57, 22 and 29, and Palam Vihar that are prone to crowding on Fridays.
Meanwhile, members of Gurugram Imam Sanghathan and Muslim Rashtriya Manch held a meeting on Thursday afternoon and asked people to not gather for namaz in large numbers in the open and advised them also not to assemble in mosques on account of the fresh wave of infections.
The members met the deputy commissioner and handed over a letter to him stating that they would not violate any Covid-19 protocol and will also reduce the number of people offering namaz in the open.
Currently, a maximum of 50 people are allowed for any function/religious programme in open spaces.
Khurshid Rajaka, coordinator of the sanghathan, who is also the national convener of Muslim Rashtriya Manch, said there were complaints last week that more than 80 people had offered prayers in the open at one particular spot. “We do not want to violate any guidelines or orders of the state and the district administration, and we have asked all our brothers to follow the protocol for the benefit of everyone. We have planned to reduce the strength to just about 10 people per spot,” he said.
“We have appealed to all mosques in Gurugram and Nuh not to allow large gatherings for namaz. The imams of mosques will offer namaz in the presence of limited people, and in shifts. We have to work together to fight the Covid-19,” Rajaka said.
Aman Yadav, assistant commissioner of police (Sadar), said police teams will visit the areas where footfall to offer prayers is high. “If anyone is found violating Covid-19 norms such as the mask rule and social distancing, then they will be fined,” he said.
Last Friday, Muslims offered namaz at 10 locations in the city, with no disruption reported from anywhere under police protection. At the Sector 29 site on last Friday, leaders of the Muslim community had announced that prayers would not be offered in the open spaces from next Friday in view of the rising Covid cases in the district.
Gurugram has been witnessing protests over offering of namaz in the open from members of some right-wing outfits since 2018.
It is worth mentioning here that currently, there are no designated sites (open public spaces) for offering namaz in Gurugram. The Gurugram administration last year had brought down the number of designated sites from 37 to 20 across the district. However, after the Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar announced on December 10 that performing namaz cannot be tolerated in open spaces, all sites were cancelled. The administration is yet to earmark new places for prayers.