Non Hindus barred in Garba venues in Madhya Pradesh
BHOPAL: Posters baring ‘non-Hindus’ in Garba venues came
up in Dhar, one of the communally sensitive districts of Madhya Pradesh, on the
first night of Navratri, which forced the administration to act quickly.
Though no untoward incident was reported, the police
removed posters hours after they were displayed at the entrance of several
venues in the town. The town is about 75 km from Indore, from where the
campaign against participation of Muslim men was started by BJP MLA Usha
Dhar SP Bhagwant Singh Chouhan said that all the
posters had a similar message and appeared to have been erected by one
particular group. He claimed no one took responsibility for the posters so no
case was registered.
The venues where these posters were displayed are
neither small nor big. The SP admitted that organisers have posted volunteers
at the venues and are screening people by checking their identity cards.
Meanwhile, Indore town saw a little face off between
the police and members of Hindu organisations, including an accused in couple
of cases of alleged Hindu terror, at Chaman crossroads on Indore-Depalpur road
late on Thursday night.
Tejram, a resident of Depalpur, who is out on bail
after arrested by the NIA and two other activists were stopped by the police
because the trio was riding one bike. While the police on duty removed the bike
key, the activists objected and reportedly claimed that they were out to check
if Muslims were being allowed entry despite the campaign.
Vinod Patidar, a constable who had removed the key was
reportedly roughed up as more members of the right wing organisations and the BJP
joined them. SI Mahadev Singh Dhillon admitted to the face off but claimed the
matter was solved. He said no case was registered.
The activists first complained to Dhillon about
Patidar’s behaviour and later to senior policemen who gathered at the spot. Reportedly
it was Patidar who had helped nab Tejram and the latter did not take it
While the police claimed that all posters had been
removed, Hindu activists insisted only a few had been removed but at most
venues they were on display.
“All those who believe in Hindu ideology are behind
the Samiti and posters. All of us have heard about ‘love jihad’ and what
Muslims do at Garba venues and that’s why we want to stop their entry”, said
Gopal Sharma, a top office-bearer of Bhoj Utsava Samiti.
Dhar is sensitive because it’s home to a disputed
shrine Bhojshala-Kamal Maula Masjid, to which both the communities lay a claim.
The Archaeological Survey of India has worked out an arrangement to ensure that
Hindus and Muslims offer prayer on separate days. The arrangement gets
complicated when Basant Panchmi falls on Fridays and the administration tries
to ensure that Muslims are allowed to offer prayers between 1 pm and 3 pm and Hindus
before and after that.