Officials of Haryana panchayat in a village in Rohtak district issued a diktat asking the Muslim population in the area to keep Hindu names, not offer namaz in open spaces and remove visible identity-markers indicating their religion, including long beards and skull cap, reports said.
The decision was adopted as an oral resolution at the panchayat after a mob attacked house of a Muslim family on 22 August and accused them of killing a calf in Titoli village. At least, half a dozen policemen were also present at the panchayat meeting, reported The Hindu.
A probe has been ordered into the matter as well. "It is unconstitutional. I will speak to the village sarpanch in this connection," the report quoted Rakesh Kumar, Rohtak sub-divisional magistrate as saying.
This is not the first time the issue of religious freedom has come into question in the state. In May this year, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar said namaz should be offered in mosques and not public spaces, inviting ire from members of the community. “We are of the view that namaz should be offered at mosques or ‘eidgahs’... In case of shortage of space, it should be offered at a personal place. These are issues which should not be put for public display... It should be avoided at public places for the convenience of all," News18 had quoted Khattar as saying.
The chief minister has also made statements in the past which indicate restricting the religious freedom of Muslims in Haryana. In 2015, Khattar had said, "Muslims can continue to live in this country, but they will have to give up eating beef. The cow is an article of faith here."
He had also said that in while there is freedom in a democracy, those freedoms have a limitation. "Freedom of one person is only to the extent that it is not hurting another person," he had said.
Updated Date: Sep 20, 2018 10:39 AM