The festive season is calling. As always, the countdown for Navratri, which Gujaratis celebrate with much gusto, has begun. Over the years, many unruly episodes have robbed the festival of its pure fervour.
Communities are targeted, with an unmistakable political ring. VHP joint secretary Surendra Jain has cautioned against disrupting forces during the festival, claiming that Hindu religious processions were being increasingly targeted.
He urged the Gujarat government to ensure that “love jihadis” do not enter garba pandals during Navratri, which will be celebrated from October 15 to 23 this year.
“Garba is an occasion to offer worship to Goddess. Some ‘jihadis’ misuse such occasions. I would like to appeal to all the organisers of garba that pandal-walas (those who construct pandals), catering service people or members of security services should not be Muslim, and they should allow entry to any person only after checking ID card and Aadhaar card,” Jain was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
He has said that the onus is on the Gujarat government to ensure that “nobody tries to turn the pious event of garba into a love jihad target.”
“We will stop them, but there is a possibility of unrest. The government should ensure that law and order is maintained and love jihadis do not get close to the venues,” he remarked.
He reminded that the Gujarat government passed an “anti-love jihad Act” due to VHP’s efforts, though it was not being imposed in the right way.
Jain told the newspaper that the Union government gave an assurance to the VHP to enact a central law against love jihad.
Right-wing organisations use the term love jihad to suggest a ploy by Muslim men to lure Hindu women into religious conversion through marriage.