The Indian Express had reported Manohar Lal Khattar as saying that namaz should be read in Mosques rather than public spaces, apparently backing the demands from right-wing organisations to impose a ban on the reading of namaz in open.
In a sharp U-turn from his previously reported remark on row over reading namaz in the open, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar today said he never favoured the demand of banning holding Friday prayers in the open. He added that those facing trouble should approach police for help. Speaking to reporters at Delhi airport, the CM assured the government is committed to providing security to everyone without any discrimination.
Khattar said that he never advocated for banning reading namaz in open, media reports said. He said that maintaining law and order is the duty of the government and if someone is having problem in reading namaz in open, he should contact the police and administration.
The Indian Express had on Sunday reported Khattar as saying that namaz should be read in Mosques rather than public spaces, apparently backing the demands from right-wing organisations to impose a ban on the reading of namaz in the open and in Hindu colonies and neighbourhoods. The CM had in his remark also added that “there has been an increase in offering namaz in open”.
Anil Vij, minister in Khattar’s Cabinet, said that everyone has right to organise prayers but organising meets with an intention to occupy the portion of a land is not acceptable. “Occasionally if a person wants to read namaz, he has freedom to practice the religion. But reading namaz at a place with the intention of grabbing land is not correct. No permission can be granted for this,” he told news agency ANI.
A major controversy erupted last month when several right-wing groups activists obstructed reading of namaz in an open area in Sector 53 in Gurugram. The groups have been demanding a city-wide ban on the reading of namaz in Gurugram. They have claimed that prayers are organised in an open area here with a goal to occupy it and that anti-national slogans are also being raised in the name of reading namaz.