No mahapanchayat against ‘love jihad’ as Section 144 imposed in Uttarakhand’s Purola - Hindustan Times
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No mahapanchayat against ‘love jihad’ as Section 144 imposed in Uttarakhand’s Purola

Jun 15, 2023 07:50 PM IST

With heavy barricading, several vehicles on way to the mahapanchayat were stopped by the police at Naugaon with heavy barricading in place at various points approaching Purola

With Section 144 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) imposed by the district administration in place, the mahapanchayat called by right wing organisations in Purola district of Uttarakhand could not be held on Thursday.

A few right wing activists staging a symbolic protest at Purola stadium after failing to hold mahapanchayat. (HT Photo | Rajeev Kala)
A few right wing activists staging a symbolic protest at Purola stadium after failing to hold mahapanchayat. (HT Photo | Rajeev Kala)

However, a few Bajrang Dal and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) members registered a symbolic protest at Purola stadium after they managed to reach the venue amid heavy police deployment across the town.

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With heavy barricading, several vehicles on way to the mahapanchayat were stopped by the police at Naugaon, around 18km from Purola, with heavy barricading in place at various points approaching Purola.

Also Read: Traders shut shops in Purola against Section 144 imposition

As many as 19 persons were arrested at Naugaon under section 151 (knowingly joining or continuing in assembly of five or more persons after it has been commanded to disperse) of the IPC as they were trying to breach the security and reach Purola.

Earlier in the day, shops remained shut in the town stadium after the Vyapar Mandal called for a bandh against the imposition of the prohibitory orders saying it was ‘uncalled for’ in the peaceful town.

The police used a drone camera to capture those violating the prohibitory orders.

The Bajrang Dal and VHP handed over a memorandum to sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Purola for Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami.

The memorandum threatened if action will be taken against “people with jihadi mentality” a big agitation will be held and its responsibility will lie with the government and administration.

It said, “Legal action should be taken with regard to attempts by people with Jihadi mentality to defame the Hindu community and right-wing organisations.

VHP’s working president of Purola Virender Singh Rawat said, “Local community wanted to hold a mahapanchayat for a solution to the issue, but the administration and police took suppressive measures by imposing Section 144 of CrPC in our peaceful town.”

SDM Purola Devanand Sharma said, “We are forwarding the memorandum given by right wing organisations for appropriate action at the highest level.”

SS Bhandari, circle officer, Barkot, said, “The law-and-order situation is under control. We have taken effective measures to ensure peace. Strict implementation of Section 144 of CrPC has been done.”

The district administration earlier imposed Section 144 of CrPC from June 14 to June 19 in anticipation of disturbance to law and order after right wing organisations insisted that they will hold the mahapanchayat as planned earlier.

Communal tension has been brewing in Purola since an alleged abduction attempt on a minor girl on May 26.

Two accused, including a person from the minority community, have been arrested in connection with the case.

On Tuesday, the Uttarkashi administration denied permission for the mahapanchayat and imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC in the town.

On June 4, posters asking Muslim traders to vacate their shops in Purola before a mahapanchayat on June 15 had come up at various places.

The next day, the police registered a case in this regard.

Director general of police (DGP) Ashok Kumar said, “All steps required to maintain law and order are being taken. No one will be allowed to disturb the peace. I request all stakeholders to assist us in maintaining law and order.”

ADG (law and order) V Murugesan earlier said, “We are committed to ensure the security of law bound citizens. Action will be taken against people who will try to take the law into their hands. I have issued instructions to district police in-charges in this regard.”

Meanwhile, chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Thursday said no one will be allowed to take the law into their hands.

“We have appealed to all the people to maintain peace. If anyone tries to vitiate the atmosphere, the law will take its course”, Dhami said.

He said that the administration has acted accordingly against the incidents that have happened so far. “If someone is found guilty, action will be taken against that person as per law. No one should take the law into their own hands”, he said.

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