The local administration in Aligarh has forbidden people of the city from organising religious events on roads. The decision taken by the Aligarh District Magistrate comes after a ‘Maha Aarti’ that was started by Hindu organisations on Tuesdays and Saturdays as a protest against Muslims blocking roads for Friday Namaz.
The Aligarh District Magistrate CB Singh said, “All religious activities carried out on road without permission are henceforth banned. Aligarh is a sensitive city and such overt manifestation of religious activities on the roads can vitiate the atmosphere.”
Singh further added that he had a discussion with the representatives of the organisations that have indulged in organising religious events on roads. He conveyed them that any religious activity should remain confined to the temples, mosques or the religious places meant for worship and carrying them out in open has a potential to stir communal tensions in the city and disturb the prevailing law and order.
Following the order, organisations and groups of individuals are forbidden from organising any religious activities, including the Friday Namaz, on road. The order will reportedly be relaxed on special occasions, such as Eid, where Mosques cannot accomodate all community members in their premises due to large gatherings of people.
Many organisations, including the Bajrang Dal, had organised Hanuman Aarti outside some temples in the city every Tuesday and Saturday of this month to draw the attention of the administration to the problem of traffic and road blockage by the Friday Namaz.
Manav Mahajan, the BJP general secretary in Aligarh city unit said, “If one community can block the road for offering namaz, then why can’t Hindus do the same?” However, he also added that Hindus didn’t block roads or created chaos on the streets. He said due to a large number of devotees thronging temples for “maha-aartis”, roads leading to temples are overcrowded.
It is notable here that the BJYM has been organising Hanuman Chalisa events on roads in Howrah, West Bengal every week since over a month. They have stated that the Hanuman Chalisa events will be organised on the road to protest against Muslims blocking the roads for their Friday Namaz.