Girls in traditional attire pose for photographs as they practice the Garba, the traditional dance of Gujarat state, ahead of Navratri festival in Ahmadabad. (AP)
A right-wing group on Sunday said it has issued a “diktat” barring entry of Muslims at Garba events during the upcoming Navratri festival at Mandvi town in Gujarat’s Kutch district to prevent “love jihad” incidents.
“We have issued a diktat barring the entry of Muslims at Garba events in Mandvi,” said president of Hindu Yuva Sangthan, Raghuvirsinh Jadeja, who is also chief of Vishwa Hindu Parishad of the Mandvi tehsil unit.
“Incidents of love jihad where Muslim boys lure and marry our Hindu girls happen at Garba. Our only aim is to protect our girls,” Jadeja told PTI.
“We are getting a good response from the people and if the people from other regions respond to this movement, then we will spread it to their regions as well,” he said.
The organisation will ensure that any person entering the Garba pandal has a tilak on his forehead, and ‘Gaumutra’ (cow-urine) will be sprayed on him, he said.
“If a person does not apply tilak and hesitates to be sprayed with Gaumutra, he will not be allowed to go inside.
“My people would do patrolling outside and inside Garba events and if they find any non-Hindus, they would exclude them,” he said.
When asked how will they identify non-Hindus, he said, “We can identify such elements.”
Last year, VHP leader Pravin Togadia had demanded that Muslims be banned from garba events, and that the identity cards of every person entering the venue of garba events must be checked at the door. “Navratri is the festival of Mother Amba’s prayers and worship, so we cannot allow beef-eating Muslims to enter into Garba places,” Togadia had said.
Usha Thakur, a legislator from Indore and the BJP‘s state vice president had echoed the same demand last year, using Love Jihad as the reason, as Muslims could enter the event and “seduce Hindu girls.”
Last month, Thakur said that Muslims should not visit any Durga pandal as the Quran prohibits idol worship. “The Quran says that the worshipping of idols is prohibited. Therefore, any true Muslim should not go to any Durga pandal,” Thakur said, adding that the Durga Puja and Garba are not sources of entertainment.
This latest attempt at dividing India into Hindus, Muslims and other religions, comes as a brutal incident played out in UP’s Dadri district. Earlier this week, a mob beat to death a fifty five year old Muslim man and critically injured his son after rumours surfaced that the family was eating beef. BJP leaders from UP, where the murder took place, condoned or at least excused the violence.
Vice President of the BJP’s west UP unit Shrichand Sharma said “when we hurt people’s sentiments, such clashes take place. This was not a communal riot. The Hindu community worships cows. Whose blood won’t boil if they see cow slaughter.”
A former legislator from Dadri Nawab Singh Nagar spoke in the same aggressive vein maintaining that the family was at fault. “It is obvious that such an incident will lead to anger among people and there will be communal tension. If this was the case, the family is in the wrong. If they have consumed beef, they are also responsible. This is a village of Thakurs and they express their sentiments in a very strong way. If they have done this, they should have kept in mind what the reaction would be,” he said.
The developments of the last few days make me ask the only pertinent question: Is this the India we want to live in?