Keep Muslims out of Garba, say BJP MLAs

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Sep 17, 2014 15:32 IST

After Indore, now it’s Bhopal. For youths who want to ‘Garba-crash’ it is strict no-no.

Close on the heels of the co-called ‘love jihad’ controversy in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, ‘no-entry’ curbs issued by two BJP legislators from Madhya Pradesh against Muslim men from gate-crashing Garba festivities— Gujarati dance festival held during then Navratri— has further stoked campaign against alleged conspiracy.

Love jihad is a term for what the saffron party considers is an Islamist strategy to convert Hindu women.

Last week, a BJP lawmaker from Indore Usha Thakur had directed Garba organisers in the city to ensure men who wanted to take part in night-long dance should only be allowed entry after proving their credentials.

Thakur had said she wanted Muslims barred from Garba venues.

The BJP legislator has written to Garba organisers, asking them to stop Muslim men from entering the dance venues and seducing women.

She had asked festival organizers to check IDs at the gates.

“Men should only be allowed into the venue after seeing their I-cards, for even Muslims entered these venues in the garb of Hindus by sporting tilak on their foreheads,” Thakur had said.

Now, the BJP MLA from Huzur constituency in Bhopal Rameshwar Sharma spoken on similar lines.

Speaking to the media, Sharma, too, stressed on checking IDs at the festivities.

Though Sharma didn’t use the word ‘Muslims’, he dropped enough hints who he wanted not to allow to the Garba venues.

“I am not opposed to Muslims or for that matter any member’s entry to Garba venues,” Sharma told HT.

“But if somebody wanted to take part in such festivities, he must come with a sense of faith in our religion.”

The BJP leader said the move was to check entry of anti-social elements gate-crashing the festivities.

The BJP leader, however, said members of other faith were welcome, if they came accompanied a woman member of their family.

“Muslims or member of any community who wants to take part in Garba must come with his wife, sister or mother,” he said adding, “ Nobody should be allowed to enter such venues for the sake of fun or entertainment.”

Though the BJP has distanced itself from its legislators’ move, it did not see anything objectionable in their strictures.

“If they wanted to keep sanctity of the festival intact by keeping the anti-social elements from such venues what was the harm in it?” said BJP state president Nandkumar Singh Chauhan.

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