A public interest litigation was filed in the Jharkhand High Court challenging the notification for allocation of a separate room for Muslims to offer namaz in the state Assembly complex.
In the PIL filed on Tuesday, petitioner Bhairav Singh submitted that allocation of such a room violated the preamble of the Constitution that the state cannot protect or propagate one religion. He argued that the Vidhan Sabha was a law-making and public-funded body.
The order for allotment of a dedicated room in the Jharkhand Assembly house was met with lot of objection from the BJP which is in Opposition in the state. The saffron party called it the state government’s “appeasement politics”.
The BJP had questioned the bias of the Assembly Speaker and the state government towards a particular religion, demanding that either the notification be rolled back or other places of worship, like a Hanuman mandir, be set up. Jharkhand Speaker Rabindranath Mahato, once again defending the decision on Tuesday, said that the old Assembly building, too, had a room allotted for namaz.
He had earlier wondered what was wrong with formally notifying a place for prayers for Muslims.
Room number TW-348 in the Assembly building has been allocated for namaz, as per a notification issued on September 2 and signed by under-secretary Navin Kumar.
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