Amid protests by some Gurgaon residents and right-wing groups against namaz in the open, a 40-year-old man, Akshay Yadav, has offered his vacant shop in Sector 12 to people from the Muslim community so they can pray there.
According to him, prayers were offered by at least 15 people on the premises last Friday, and he is willing to extend the gesture for the future too.
The same day, on November 12, a right-wing outfit had camped at a previously agreed upon namaz site in Sector 12A, saying they will make a volleyball court there, while in Sarhaul, over 80 protesters had disrupted prayers by occupying a park.
The Sector 12 locality, where Yadav’s shop is, has witnessed protests in recent weeks from some local residents and members of the Sanyukta Hindu Sangharsh Samiti, which also organised a Govardhan Puja at the namaz site recently.
The shop, approximately 1,000 square feet, is located near the telephone exchange on Old Delhi road in Sector 12 and has been lying empty for some time, said Yadav, who owns several properties in the area. He has a wildlife tours and travel business, he said, adding: “I am a businessman. I have no affiliation with any political party.”
Yadav said that if the need arises, he is ready to offer his residence or another plot of land he owns for Friday prayers.
“My family said that if our place is being used to offer prayers to any God, it is a good thing. I have lived in Gurgaon for decades and it has always been a place of harmony and brotherhood,” said Yadav.
On November 2, the district administration had withdrawn permission for namaz at eight of the 37 previously agreed upon sites citing “objection from local residents and RWAs”.