The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) reiterated on Saturday that it will carry out a procession in Nuh, where a similar event on July 31 was at the heart of communal clashes that left six people dead over three days of religious clashes that spilled over to nearby districts, appearing to defy police restrictions that ban large gatherings.
In a press conference on Saturday, the right-wing Hindu group said the Braj Mandal Jal Abhishek yatra in Nuh was abandoned midway on July 31 and will be completed on Monday. “We don’t need permission for the yatra as it is a religious procession. The Hindus in Mewat and across the country were worried that the yatra on July 31 has remained incomplete and now we have decided to complete it. We appeal to the Muslims to uphold the values of peaceful coexistence as large numbers among them have offered support to the yatra,” said Surendra Kumar Jain, central joint secretary, VHP, adding that the district administration had been “informed”.
But, the outfit leader added, only Hindus from Nuh, Gurugram and Palwal will participate “in view of the upcoming G20 Summit”. They said the yatra will be taken out under the aegis of Sarva Hindu Samaj, and include prominent members of the Hindu community, including pals (community grouping).
Narendra Bijarniya, the superintendent of police (SP), Nuh, said no person from outside the district will be allowed for any procession. “We have made it clear that no one from outside the district will be allowed to take out any procession or participate in it. We have no problems if the local residents of Nuh participate in rituals (but not in groups) and carry out Jalabhishek as they have been carrying out. Strict measures have been put in place to maintain law-and-order,” he said.
No procession will be allowed in Nuh since the situation is sensitive, said a senior police officer, adding that no rally or religious yatra will be allowed, as it could lead to another communal flare-up in the region.
The Mewat area includes a number of districts spanning Haryana and Rajasthan, including Nuh, eastern part of Alwar district and western part of Bharatpur district.
Nuh deputy commissioner Dhirendra Khadgata on Saturday imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure) from August 25-28 with a view to maintain law and order.
According to the order, possession and carrying of lethal and offensive weapons, excluding kirpan (ceremonial knife carried by Sikhs), are prohibited in public places where five or more individuals gather.
“A narrative is being created that Hindu activists were involved in this violence but it has been set aside by police. We demand that those involved in the violence on July 31 be punished,” said Jain.
Arun Zaildar, who heads the 52 pals (community grouping) said the yatra will be conducted peacefully. “We had a discussion with the Muslims as well and they have decided to support the yatra,” he said. Khadgata also issued orders under section 3(1) of the Punjab Village and Small Town Patrol Act, 1918, to set up thikri pehras (to safeguard or secure villages from robberies, thefts, or similar situations) in all villages and towns of Nuh district from August 26 to 28.
The Gurugram Police on Saturday said since no permission has been granted to the yatra, residents should refrain from participating in it. “No permission has been granted to the yatra in Nuh on August 28, and as such we appeal to residents not to participate in it,” police said in a statement.
Members of the Muslim community in Nuh said taking out a religious procession was within the rights of any community but the organisers must also keep in view the prevalent volatile situation. “Every community has the right to take out processions, but it is important to keep in mind that tension still prevails and tempers could flare again. It is better to postpone it for the time being,” said Ramzan Choudhary, advocate and former president of Mewat Vikas Manch.
Salamudin, a prominent social activist from Nuh, said the yatra was being used as a tool to push a communal agenda to polarise Hindus and Muslims. “This is not a historic yatra but a religious procession, which is now being misused to incite the Muslim community. At this time, the yatra should not be allowed,” he said.
The locals of Nuh held a meeting on Saturday and have asked the men to remain indoor on Monday so that their name is not involved in violence, if any, during the yatra. “We have spread the message that parents should not allow their children to go out. All the men have been directed to remain indoors. We are already suffering so we want to remain safe,” said Mohammad Irsad, a member of the panchayat of Singar village.