Muslims banned from garbas to protect 'Hindu girls' in India's Mandvi

Published October 5, 2015
Navratri is a religious festival in which devotees worship the deity of strength for nine days. — AP/File
Navratri is a religious festival in which devotees worship the deity of strength for nine days. — AP/File

RAJKOT: Muslims in the town of Mandvi taluka of India's Kutch region have been banned from entering all Garba venues this Navratri to protect 'Hindu girls', according to a report published on Hindustan Times website.

The diktat issued by a right-wing group aims to prevent cases of 'love jihad' in Mandvi area of Gujrat state. Navratri, held annually in honour of Hindu Goddess Durga, is celebrated over a period of nine days where thousands of youth dance the night away in traditional costumes.

In many parts of India it is marked by celebrations involving prayer, fasting, music and dance among men and women. It is famous for being high-spirited and Christians and Muslims are known to take part.

President of Hindu Yuva Sangthan, Raghuvirsinh Jadeja, who is also chief of Vishwa Hindu Parishad of the Mandvi tehsil unit said, “Hindus entering the venue will have to sprinkle Gaumutra (cow urine) on themselves and apply tilak on their forehead. If a person does not apply tilak and hesitates to be sprayed with Gaumutra, he will not be allowed to go inside.”

"We had banned the entry of people from other religions last year itself and framed these strict rules. But these are being more pronounced this year,” he added.

“Incidents of love jihad where Muslim boys lure and marry our Hindu girls happen at Garba. Our only aim is to protect our girls,” Jadeja told the Press Trust of India.

“We are getting a good response from the people and if the people from other regions respond to this movement, then we will spread it to their regions as well,” he said.

“My people would do patrolling outside and inside Garba events and if they find any non-Hindus, they would exclude them,” he said. “We can identify such elements.”

Even as the outfit and garba organisers are firm on imposing the ban, it must be noted that the coastal town of Mandvi, which is famed for its centuries-old wooden boat-making industry, has never seen communal clashes.

The Times of India website quoted a local Muslim leader, Azam Angadia, who is also vice-president of Kutch Vahanvata Association, "We are going to meet in a day or two to decide on our stand regarding such a decree. There are some elements who are making deliberate attempts at vitiating the atmosphere."

Meanwhile, a BJP leader who requested anonymity also expressed his displeasure over the move and told the TOI, "Hindus and Muslims have been living in complete harmony since years in Mandvi. There are many Hindus who keep roza (fast) during Ramazan and Muslims join them with fervour in Ganesh Chaturthi. Such bans are in a very poor taste when there is no communal rift at all."

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