In Aligarh, the Hindus took to the streets to recite the Hanuman Chalisa and perform Maha Aarti every Tuesday and Saturday. This was in response to Muslims offering namaaz on the roads. As a result, the Aligarh administration has banned religious activities on roads.
Aligarh District Magistrate, CB Singh stated, “No religious activities are allowed on roads without permission. Aligarh is a very sensitive city and such practice on the roads can spoil the atmosphere.” He further added, “I spoke to the representatives of the organization first who were performing Maha Aarti on the roads on every Tuesday and Saturday. I told them everybody has religious freedom but they must carry out all their religious activities inside the temple or any other religious place. Performing religious activities on the roads can disturb the law and order of the state.”
Henceforth, no religious activities, not even the Friday namaaz, were allowed on roads without any prior permission. CB Singh explained that everyone has freedom to follow their religion but at their own places of worship and not on roads.
BJP General Secretary of the Aligarh city unit, Manav Mahajan said, “If one community can block the road for offering namaaz, then why can’t the Hindus perform maha aarti on roads?”
Mahajan further added that he was thankful to the people who started this tradition as it is confronting the practice of offering namaaz on roads. “At least, this is an issue for debate now,” he said.
The practice of right-wing activists organizing Hanuman aarti started from Hapur and is now being held in more than half a dozen districts in western UP.
Prior to this, a month ago, the people had adopted the same route in West Bengal as well. The members of the BJP youth wing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha had gathered in Howrah, near Kolkata, on 25th June to recite the Hanuman Chalisa, to protest against the “blocking of roads” by Muslims during Friday namaaz. Mamata Banerjee’s relaxed attitude towards this had let to a lot of issues in the cities and people complained that patients die as ambulances get stuck and neither the children are able to reach schools in time, nor the people to their offices.
Moreover, this problem is being faced by people all over the country. The community takes to the roads to offer Namaaz, and that affects the overall productivity of the region, as people are stopped from going about their usual activities.
Since the authorities otherwise turn a deaf ear to the grievances, the Hindus have now taken to novel forms of protest to make their demands audible. The swift reaction of the district administration against the Hindu aarti demonstrators, one that they were unable to take against the Namaazis, has set strange precedence. Now, the general public has quickly adapted itself to the unspoken norm and whoever wants to put an end to the Namaaz being offered on the road, has to take out their own religious processions.