The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has put up banners at many garba venues across Gujarat asking non-Hindus to stay away from the dance programmes.
“Navratri is a sacred Hindu festival.People who don’t believe in idol worship should stay away. This festival is for Hindus only,” says the banner put up at over 100 venues.
This comes a week after the VHP said it would take “necessary steps” to stop non-Hindus from entering garba venues, including ones at residential colonies. The right-wing Hindu organisation justified the ban saying, “Such steps are necessary to stop incidents of love jihad, in which Muslim boys lure and marry Hindu girls”.
Garba events which are part of the Navaratri celebrations began in Gujarat on Tuesday and will be held every night till October 21. “We will cover all venues in the city, which are hosting garba events,” state VHP media coordinator Jay Shah said.
Earlier reports had quoted VHP leaders as saying that if non-Hindus were caught at garba venues during Navratri, they would be purified the “Hindu way” using Ganga jal, gau mutra and tilak.
They also said VHP activists would “patrol” outside and inside the venues to “identify and remove non-Hindus”.
Apart from barring entry to non-Hindus, the VHP is also trying to extend timings for garba events in residential societies from the present deadline of 12 midnight set by the state police.
“We demand that residential societies should be excluded while implementing this rule. Societies organise garba at their own place and do not disturb others. VHP leaders will meet the city police commissioner to demand that the deadline should be extended till 4am,” Shah said.