The Jharkhand assembly secretariate allocating a dedicated room in the assembly premises to offer Namaz may escalate into a legal battle.
BJP MLA from Bokaro Biranchi Narayan, who is also the chief whip of the party in the assembly, has shot a missive to the Speaker stating that he will be forced to approach the court for withdrawal of this order. He termed the decision of the assembly as unconstitutional.
“Like the Hemant Soren government, the assembly too has gone extra miles to appease Muslims. In the letter I have requested him to withdraw the decision else I will file a case at the court. India is a secular country. There is a tradition in India to honour all religions. But by allotting a dedicated room for Namaz is an insult to other religions. This is an insult to Sanatan dharma,” said Narayan.
Narayan said that if the Speaker is so concerned he should make temples and churches.
In the letter, Narayan has pointed out that the assembly building was constructed out of public money and there can’t be special provisions for any religion.
On the controversy, a source in the assembly that OpIndia spoke to said that never in the past any place of worship (namaz) on the assembly premises was notified officially.
On the condition of anonymity, the official in the assembly said, “The official notification looks like a gross violation. There are court judgments clearly stating that the state is not bound to make provisions for worship for employees/ public servants at their workplace. From the days of Bihar there was an unofficial arrangement to fix any room or place for employees to offer namaz on Friday during the session. But how can one officially notify a room as a place of worship.”
The newly constructed sprawling and majestic building at Kute gram situated on the outskirts of Ranchi is the new address of Jharkhand. It was constructed by the previous BJP-Ajsu Party government headed by Raghubar Das worth Rs 465 crore.
As the weeklong monsoon session of the assembly started on September 3, the assembly secretariat issued an order that room number TW 348 in the new assembly building will be allocated for Muslims to offer the Namaz.
In the house of 81, there are four Muslim MLAs Irfan Ansari and Alamgir Alam from Congress, and Dr Sarfaraz Ahmad and Hafizul Ansari who are the JMM MLAs.
Veteran MLAs and those who have covered proceedings of Jharkhand assembly session said that as per practice any session falling on Friday was curtailed so that Muslim MLAs can offer namaz.
“That was the practice followed all these years so that Muslim MLAs and staffs offer prayer. But the assembly secretariat has touched a new low of appeasement. The assembly is not different. Recently, the Hemant Soren government removed Hindi and made Urdu a compulsory subject for any recruitment examination,” said two time BJP MLA Anant Ojha.