Pakistan condemns restrictions on Friday prayers, vandalisation of mosques in India

Published November 17, 2021
This file photo shows security personnel deployed outside the Foreign Office in Islamabad. — AFP/File
This file photo shows security personnel deployed outside the Foreign Office in Islamabad. — AFP/File

Pakistan on Wednesday strongly condemned the restrictions imposed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government on offering Friday congregational prayers at several places in the Indian state of Haryana.

“We are also deeply concerned over [the] continued vandalisation of mosques and attacks [on] places of worship of Muslims by Sangh Parivar extremists with the complicity of [authorities in] BJP-ruled states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana,” the Foreign Office (FO) said in a statement.

It further noted that "in another abhorrent act of sacrilege of Muslim religious places, radical Hindu groups reportedly dumped cow dung" at several spots where Friday prayers were held.

“Senseless attacks against Muslims and their places of worship, houses and businesses are continuing in Tripura [state] as well, despite international concern,” it added.

The FO also highlighted that authorities in BJP-ruled states had arrested hundreds of individuals, advocates and journalists under "draconian laws", such as the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, for "raising voice against gross and systematic human rights violations of minorities, particularly Muslims".

Read: India’s demonisation of Muslims

In the state of Maharashtra, it said, violent attacks were unleashed at Muslims’ shops, mosques, and shrines by radical activists of BJP and its affiliated groups, including Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena.

“Pakistan calls on the international community, particularly the United Nations and relevant international human rights and humanitarian organisations, to fulfil their responsibilities to stop the rising Islamophobia,” it said.

The FO stressed that "violent attacks against minorities, particularly Muslims, in India be stopped, ensuring their safety, security and well-being and the protection of their places of worship".

Restriction on prayers

For weeks, Hindu groups have been pressuring authorities in Harayana's northern city of Gurgaon, on the outskirts of New Delhi, to stop Muslims from offering Friday prayers in open spaces.

On October 29, dozens of people, many from Hindu right-wing groups, were arrested in India for disrupting Muslim prayer gatherings.

According to The Indian Express, Gurgaon's local administration had revoked on November 2 the permission for offering Friday congregational prayers at 37 spots after objections from local residents.

These incidents follow violent attacks against Muslims in Tripura last month, with Hindu groups vandalising Muslims' shops and places of worship.

According to a report by Indian lawyers Mukesh and Ansar Indori, at least 12 mosques, nine shops and three houses of Muslims were targeted by radical outfits such as Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Hindu Jagaran Manch during the violence.

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