Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Jharkhand has issued an order for allotment of a separate room in the Vidhan Sabha where salah (referred to popularly as “namaz” in India) can be offered. According to the order, signed by Deputy Secretary of the Legislative Assembly Naveen Kumar, room number TW-348 has been allotted as “Namaz Room”. Notably, the Jharkhand Legislative Assembly session has started on Friday and an order has been passed on the very Friday (yesterday, 3 September).
The BJP has questioned the ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-led government in Jharkhand over order for allotment of a room for offering namaz in the new state assembly building during the ongoing Monsoon Session.
A BJP MLA has now demanded a room for reciting Hanuman Chalisa too. Bokaro MLA and BJP’s chief whip Biranchi Narayan said the party demands a similar allotment of rooms in the assembly building for people hailing from all other religions, including Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism and so on.
“The allotment of rooms for all religions would mean equal respect for all. When a special community can be allotted a room for prayers, others should also be allotted the same,” he said.
According to sources, the BJP is expected to bring up the issue on the floor of the House and is also planning to agitate outside the assembly.
Meanwhile, Speaker Rabindra Mahato said there was nothing new about the move as similar arrangements were in place since the time of undivided Bihar.
“On Fridays, the Assembly is adjourned half an hour earlier for namaz. In the old Vidhan Sabha building, there was an arrangement and a place for namaz. Since the House has shifted to a new assembly building and no space was marked for namaz, a room has now been allotted,” Rabindra Mahato told India Today over the phone.
“Minority ministers used to offer namaz in their cabins with great difficulty. They had no option but to go back to their residences and come back in haste to attend the session. The BJP’s character is well known to all. It is always on the lookout to play politics on trivial issues connected to religion,” he said.