A right-wing group vows to prevent cases of ‘love jihad’ in Mandvi area of Indian state of Gujrat. Navratri, (the festival of nine nights) held annually in honour of Hindu goddess Durga, where thousands of youth dance the night away in traditional costumes.
The festival in most parts of India is marked by celebrations involving prayer, fasting, music and dance among men and women. The festival is famous for being high-spirited and people with other faith also take part in celeberations.
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 cow urine on themselves and apply tilak on their forehead. If a person does not apply tilak and hesitates to be sprayed with cow urine, 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.
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, “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.”
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.”