When Mohammad Riyaz, the 31-year old madrassa teacher from Malakpet went to the Hyderabad airport to conduct prayers, a few security guards asked him to select another place near the terminal due to security reasons. That was in 2008. Mohammad Riyaz and people who had invited him to lead the prayers agreed then, though they were disappointed.
Eight years later, the number of devotees has swelled and Mohammad Riyaz has now asked the State Minorities Commission for a place inside the terminal. The Commission has issued a show-cause notice to the GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited.
According to the 2011 census, the population of Muslims in Hyderabad district stands at 17.13 lakhs. â€śAt the time of Ramzan no doubt the GMR authorities cooperate with us by allotting a separate space for Namaz, but on normal days it becomes really difficult to offer payers in the open especially in summer and during the rains,â€ť Mohammad Riyaz told The News Minute (TNM). He had earlier filed a petition against the airport authorities stating that more than 300 Muslims pray in the open on Fridays.
Chairman of the State Minority Commission Abid Rasool Khan who received the complaint told TNM â€śPeople have complained that in such hot weather they have to offer prayers in the open and they also cannot leave the place as most of them are taxi drivers who stand in a queue awaiting their number.â€ť
Abid Rasool Khanâ€™s office has sent the notice to GMR authorities last Monday following Mohammad Riyazâ€™s overture to the commission in January this year. The show-cause notice has asked the airport authorities why a mosque or a separate prayer hall for taxi-drivers, workers and others who spend their entire day at the airport in various capacities.
â€śTill now, the airport authorities have not responded but we hope to hear from them shortly. We have also raised questions about what facilities are extended to workers from other communities who work at the airport,â€ť Mohammad Rasool Khan added.
Mohammad Riyaz added their only demand is that of a â€śseparate place or mosque to offer prayers.â€ť