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Thrashed Over 'Love Jihad', Refusing 'Tilak', Neta's Entry Rule: Garba Venues, Now a Political Battlefield

By: News Desk

Edited By: Revathi Hariharan

News18.com

Last Updated: September 30, 2022, 09:23 IST

New Delhi, India

People perform garba dance during the nine-day long Navratri festival, in Ahmedabad (PTI Photo)

People perform garba dance during the nine-day long Navratri festival, in Ahmedabad (PTI Photo)

The Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad have both made strong allegations and have called for mandatory IDs so as to keep a check on who is entering the Garba events.

The nine-day Navratri festival, which started on September 26 this year, is currently being celebrated across the country with great fervor. Meanwhile, several right-wing outfits like Bajrang Dal have begun their alleged clampdown during Navratri events like Garba in bid to ‘protect’ Hindu culture and traditions from practices such as ‘love Jihad’. Even ministers have raised similar concerns during Garba events.

In Gujarat, where the Garba dance form is an integral part of Navratri festivities, Volunteers of Bajrang Dal, an organisation associated with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad stood guard at various Garba venues. They were spotted distributing pamphlets to people making them aware of the perils of “love jihad".  “Love jihad" is a term widely used by right-wing groups and activists to allege a concerted effort by Muslim men to convert Hindu women to Islam via matrimony.

The Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad have both made strong allegations and have called for mandatory IDs so as to keep a check on who is entering the Garba events. They have been refusing entry to those from the Muslim community alleging that Muslim men were flocking to Garba venues allegedly to lure young Hindu women.

Earlier this week in Ahmedabad, Bajrang Dal members had nabbed four Muslims from a Garba venue, allegedly thrashed them and forced them to leave. A purported video of the incident was also widely shared on Twitter. The outfits have also announced that they would go on surprise checks through the Navratri festival across Gujarat. They allegedly claimed that some of the Muslims who came for the Garba event refused to wear ‘tilaks’ and were refused entry.

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These add to a string of notoriety during Navratri festivities. Several outfits have also roped in Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India, urging them to refuse the entry of Muslim men with Hindu women and warned them that they would face consequences if they did not oblige.

In Nagpur too, Vishwa Hindu Parishad called for mandatory Aadhar card checking before entry into Navratri pandals. This the VHP Nagpur claimed was a bid to stop ‘Love Jihad’ at pandals.

The chorus for no ID, no Garba grew with a Madhya Pradesh minister announcing that no one would be allowed inside the Garba pandal without identity cards in Gwalior. The MP culture minister had said that the Garba pandals have become a medium for ‘love Jihads’ and in order to avoid this, all the participants must now carry identity proof. The same culture minister however later “welcomed" Muslims at the pandals, if “they are fine with idol worship."

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first published:September 30, 2022, 09:21 IST
last updated:September 30, 2022, 09:23 IST