'Dabangs' In Delhi's Bijwasan Village Ban 'Azaan' On Mike, Bar People From Outside To Pray In The Village Mosque
Syed Khalique Ahmed & Masihuzzama Ansari
NEW DELHI, JUNE 22—It has been 10 months since September 2019, some ‘Dabangs’(local strongmen) are neither allowing calling of ‘Azaan’ on loudspeaker from the Jama Masjid in Bijwasan village under Kapashera Police station, nor allowing the Muslims from outside the village to offer prayers in the mosque.
This has resulted in immense hardship to those Muslims who are working in nearby government and private institutions, particularly with regard to offering Friday congregational prayers. According to locals, there are more than 300 Muslims working in nearby institutions who earlier came to this mosque for offering Friday prayers.
The village Hindus, most of whom have their loyalties with BJP and other right wing organisations, have issued a verbal diktat that only the original natives of the village can offer prayers but without giving ‘Azaan’ on loudspeaker. There are only five Muslim families with a total of 14 members in the village which is about 11 kms from the Indira Gandhi International Airport, bordering Gurugram district of Haryana.
Speaking to India Tomorrow team, Dr. Intizar Khan, a resident of Bijwasan said there was no problem till September 8, 2019. “However, some people led by local BJP leaders came to the mosque on September 19, 2019, which was Friday and objected to people offering prayers on the road outside the mosque. We accepted it and prevented people not to pray on the road”, said Dr. Khan.
“After this, they demanded that loudspeaker for sermons and ‘namaaz’ even inside the mosque should not be used. We again accepted it in the interest of peace and harmony”, pointed out Dr. Khan, who runs a private clinic.
“But they did not stop at that. The next Friday, the locals deployed their supporters armed with batons near the mosque to ensure that no one from outside the village offer prayers in the mosque. Again to avoid any clash and violence, we requested people from outside to go somewhere else for prayers because the atmosphere had become very tense. This again to avoid any clash”.
“Since then nobody, excepting the local Muslim villagers, is coming for prayers in the mosque”, said Dr. Khan.
“This all speaks of the law and order situation in the national capital and exposes India’s claims to be a secular and democratic republic with equal rights to all of its citizens.
The villagers say the matter went to the police also but the policemen asked Muslims to remain silent in view of the huge majority of the Hindus and majority of them having joined the saffron groups.
Village ‘Pradhan’ Shabbir Khan, when contacted, said that after over 200 Muslim families left for Pakistan in the wake of Partition, mosque had become dilapidated. “But the elders from the Hindu community, particularly Jats, asked us to rebuild the mosque and use it for prayers. As we did not have money, it were the Hindu Jats who pooled up money and got it rebuilt in 1986 for us. Later on, we further expanded it and also added one floor over it to accommodate rush of people, particularly, in Friday prayers”, said Pradhan, the village head.
Shabbir Khan said that there was 20 square feet of land adjoining the mosque that belonged to ‘Gram Samaj’, the common village land. The Hindus demanded that a temple should be built on it. “Since the Hindus had helped build the mosque, I reciprocated the gesture by helping them build a temple for them”, he said, adding that “I was elected Pradhan by the villagers thebselves, who are all Hindus”. The temple was built about a year ago.
But soon after the temple construction, arose the problem with ‘namaaz’ in the mosque.
“But now some people, who are like my sons and brothers, are not allowing calling of ‘Azaan’ on loudspeaker from the mosque and also not allowing people from outside the village to pray in it. The mosque has the capacity to accommodate at least 250-300 ‘namaazis’. We are only 14 members in five Muslim families. We alone cannot maintain and run the mosque. Moreover, nobody has legal or moral authority to stop people from praying in a religious place. But it is happening in my village. I cooperated with the local Hindus in construction of the temple. It is unfortunate that I am not allowed to give the ‘Azaan’ call from mike”, the 65-year-old Shabbir Khan said.
Shabbir Khan said that there were more than 250 Muslim families at present living in rented houses in the village. “I told Hindus that at least Muslim tenants in your houses be allowed to pray in the mosque. But they rejected my appeal in presence of police. They said that they can pray in their houses or wherever they want but not in the village Jama Masjid”, narrated Shabbir Khan.
Mohammed Aiman, who works in a government office in Bijwasan, told India Tomorrow, “This is the nearest mosque from my office. I used to go there for Friday prayers. Since September 2019, I am not able to offer Friday prayers”.
He said that there are hundreds of others Muslims working in nearby offices who used to go to Bijwasan village mosque for Friday prayers. “But all of them are facing problems since September last”, Aiman said.
Imam of the mosque, Lal Mohammed, who hails from UP’s Rae Bareilly district, said, “Earlier, Hindu villagers respected me a lot. But everthing has changed after September 2019. Earlier, local Hindus came to the mosque for ‘dua’ to get rid of the bad effect of ‘evil eye’. But none comes to the mosque now”.