Saffron brigade: Muslims attending garba must express faith in Hinduism

  • Ranjan, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Oct 16, 2015 17:46 IST
Girls dance to garba tunes at a programme in Indore. (Shankar Mourya/HT photo)

The saffron brigade in Madhya Pradesh say they will allow members of the Muslim community to participate in garba celebration but with some riders.

Continuing its campaign against the minority community on the ground of “Love Jehad” during the Navratra festival, the saffron brigade, particularly the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal, has decided to increase its presence at garba venues across the state.

“The VHP and the Bajrang Dal will keep a close watch on every garba venue across the state. Our activists will be present to deter members of the Muslim community from entering the venues,” Dilip Khandelwal, state chief of VHP math-mandir samiti, told Hindustan Times.

“Why should we allow them to attend garbas when there have been instances of Hindu girls being converted?” he questioned.

Another VHP functionary, Anil Goel said they had no problem in Muslims attending garbas but certain conditions will be enforced which included that they be accompanied by their wives or any other female members of their family with tilak smeared on their forehead and rakshasutra tied on their wrist.

He further said that Muslims who would want to participate in garbas would have to express their faith in Hinduism.

BJP’s woman lawmaker from Indore, Usha Thakur has renewed her resolution again that ID cards of participants be checked at all garba venues.

Last year, there were some unpleasant situations at several garba venues in Indore when police interfered and asked the saffron brigade activists not to check I-cards of the participants as they were not authorised to do so.

A video clipping on this went viral this year. Another BJP lawmaker from Malwa region, Yashpal Singh Sisodia has joined hands with Thakur.

Talking to HT, Sisodia said, “We have just made an appeal to garba organisers to allow Muslim youths to attend garbas only if they take part in arti, smear tilak on their forehead and declare their faith in idol worship.”

“Garba is an occasion to worship Goddess Durga,” he said.

However, former chairman of Madhya Pradesh Minority Commission Ibrahim Qureshi said that it was propaganda against Muslims that they take part in nine-night festivities “but the fact is that no Muslim attends garbas”.

“…By doing so, they (the VHP and the Bajrang Dal) want to vitiate the atmosphere of communal harmony in society and harm the rich tradition of the country which believes in amity and brotherhood.”

Trying to steer clear of any controversy, state DGP Surendra Sinh said it was up to the garba organisers who they want to allow and who not to allow. “Police are there at the venues only to help them,” he said.

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