With the Navratri festival starting today, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has started putting up banners at the entrances of select garba venues across the state, asking non-Hindus not to participate in the dance programmes as it is restricted “only for Hindus”.
According to Gujarat VHP leaders, the banners are being put up at over 100 garba venues across Gujarat, which are hosting commercial events during the nine-day festivity.
“We put up our first such banner at the entrance gate of Rajpath Club on S G Highway here today. Gradually, we will cover all other venues in the city, which are hosting garba events. VHP will put up such banners at around 100 such commercial venues across the state,” state VHP media coordinator Jay Shah said.
These posters carry a common text, which warns non-Hindus from entering the venue.
“Navratri is a sacred Hindu festival…People who don’t believe in idol-worshiping must stay away..This festival is for Hindus only,” the banner says.
Last week, general secretary of Gujarat VHP, Ranchhod Bharwad, had announced that his organisation would take all necessary steps to stop non-Hindus from entering the garba venues, including residential societies.
The right-wing Hindu organisation justified the ban claiming that such steps are necessary to stop incidents of “love jihad, in which a Muslim boys lures and marry Hindu girls”.
Apart from barring entry to non-Hindus, VHP is also advocating the extension of time for garba organised in residential societies. At present, the time limit set by city police is 12 am, which is applicable to all.
“We demand that residential societies should be kept aside while implementing this rule. Societies organise garba in their own private place and do not disturb others. Therefore, VHP leaders will meet the city Police Commissioner today to demand that the time should be extended till 4 am,” Shah said.