The Delhi Police has clarified after former Delhi Minority Commission Head Zafarul Islam Khan had alleged that Muslims were not allowed to enter certain mosques in Delhi during Shab-e-Barat this year. Zafarul Islam in a tweet had alleged that Delhi Police was not allowing Namaz to be offered in 16 mosques of the Panchsheel area of Delhi on the day of Shab-e-Barat.
No namaz: Police disallowed Friday namaz in 16 mosques in Panchsheel area of Delhi. Imam of an old mosque said this is the first time in fifty years that namaz was stopped here. From today’s Inquilab. pic.twitter.com/dNdCHwKgT0— Zafarul-Islam Khan (@khan_zafarul) March 20, 2022
Zafarul Islam Khan, who is the former chairman of the Delhi minorities commission under the Government of National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi tweeted on Sunday that Friday Namaz was disallowed by Delhi Police in sixteen mosques of Panchasheel in Delhi. He also added a newspaper clipping of the Urdu daily Inquilab, while quoting an Imam of a mosque that this was the first time in fifty years when namaz was stopped there. Khan alleged that the Friday Namaz could have been transferred to 3 PM instead of cancelling it outright.
Khan further alleged that by this logic, tomorrow temples, churches and gurudwaras could also be closed. During a conversation, while he accepted that law and order situations could arise given Shab-e-Barat and Holi fell on the same day, he argued that Namaz could have been offered inside the mosque with police protection.
Refuting Zafarul Islam Khan’s allegations, Delhi Police stated that Shab-e-Barat celebrations often becomes a site for bikers to engage in road rage and thus law and order situation remains tense. Since Holi and Shab-e-Barat fell on the same day, Friday, the Police maintained that elaborate arrangements were made to maintain law and order. However, to address the same, people were not allowed to enter certain buildings including Mosques late in the evening.
Furthermore, Delhi Police PRO Suman Nalwa clarified that all the mosques which Zafarul Islam was talking about are monuments under the aegis of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). According to the ASI rules, entry to these monuments is not allowed before sunrise and after sunset. Therefore, the Namaz timings could not have been postponed for those mosques as that would mean entering those buildings after the sunset. Ignoring the underlying administrative reasons, Zafarul Islam Khan involved a communal angle to the action of the Delhi Police, which was thrashed later.
The leader is infamous for making hateful comments against Hindus and has been earlier slammed by the National Minorities Commission for his divisive statements. In an earlier Facebook post hailing Islamist Preacher Zakir Naik and thanking Kuwait for standing with Indian Muslims, he attracted sedition charges for which he was asked to submit his personal laptop by the Delhi Police for investigation.