Garba seems to be losing its flavour as a community celebration in Gujarat. A series of videos showing Bajrang Dal workers assaulting four Muslim youths at a garba venue on Sindhu Bhavan Road went viral on September 28. The city police, though, are yet to register a complaint in the case. This, when the right-wing organisation took “responsibility” for the incident.
One of the videos shows Bajrang Dal men holding placards displaying messages against “love jihad” outside Sky Universal Garba venue on Sindhu Bhavan Road on September 27. The youths were recorded making abusive comments against Muslims in one of the videos. They were also seen applying tilak on the foreheads of male garba enthusiasts.
Hitendrasinh Rajput, spokesperson for the Gujarat VHP, said that Bajrang Dal volunteers carried out checks at two venues on the first night of Navratri to prevent people from other religions from participating in the revelry. “Despite being warned, four youths from another religion were spotted at a venue. Our volunteers grabbed them to prevent love jihad,” Rajput said, admitting that the four were beaten up.
In another video, some Bajrang Dal workers were seen chasing a man and abusing him. In yet another video, a man bleeding profusely from his head was being abused and thrashed by around 30 Bajrang Dal men. The victim identified himself as Salman Shaikh. Despite the videos in circulation, the cops seem unaware of the incident and maintain that no complaint has been filed in the case, hence no action has been taken.
The saffron brigade claims that non-Hindus going to garba is nothing but part of “love jihad”. The organisation has submitted memorandums to district authorities in various parts of Gujarat for not allowing non-Hindus into garba venues.
In a tweet tagging the Hotels and Restaurants Association of Western India, Bajrang Dal has also warned hotels against renting rooms to “people from other religions” accompanied by girls.