Muslims barred from offering prayers in open spaces in India’s Haryana state

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Chief Minister of India’s Haryana state, ML Khattar, has barred Muslims from offering Friday prayers in open space in Gurgaon, saying the practice will no longer be tolerated.

The chief minister announced it on Friday as he withdrew an earlier agreement – reached after violent clashes in 2018 – that allowed namaz at designated places in the city.

The development comes as members of hardliner Hindu groups are harassing Muslims in the city for offering prayers.

He said that the city’s administration is holding negotiations with all parties involved, adding that it would soon find an amicable solution to the problem.

Until then, people should offer prayers at their homes and other places of worship, he said.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Khattar said, “I have spoken to the police and this issue must be resolved. We don’t have problems with anyone praying at places of worship. Those places have been built for this purpose,” NDTV reported.

“But these should not be done in the open. We won’t tolerate the custom of offering namaz in the open,” the chief minister maintained.

Prayers are usually disrupted by the hardliner Hindus at designated sites in the city, the report said.

In October, dozens of people, many from Hindu right-wing groups, were arrested in Gurgaon for disrupting Friday prayer gatherings.

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