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ALLEGING THAT non-Hindus participate in garbas with the intention to “entice” girls, the Hindu Utsav Samiti (HUS) has said that entry should be restricted to only Hindu men, and their identities should be confirmed through their Aadhaar cards.
Admitting that this is an attempt to keep Muslim participants away, HUS president Kailash Begwani said: “It’s not easy to make a fake Aadhaar card, unlike other documents like voter identity cards. The moment one furnishes his Aadhaar card, there will be no doubt about his identity.”
“We get several complaints after the festival is over about exploitation of Hindu girls by those belonging to other religions. They befriend Hindu girls during practice sessions, and then entice them during the festival,’’ said Begwani.
The HUS put forward its demand at a peace committee meeting called by the district administration ahead of the festival. The district administration, however, did not give the HUS any guarantee in this regard. Till a few decades ago, the HUS, which has over 6,000 members, used to organise nearly all the big Hindu festivals. While it does not organise garbas, it is still involved in other festivals like Holi and Dussehra.
The samiti also submitted a memorandum demanding that meat and liquor shops should be closed during Ganeshotsava and the Jain community’s Paryushan Parva, and strict action should be taken against those transporting meat illegally.
However, the samiti’s demand to restrict the size of Ganesh idols to nine feet was rejected by festival organisers. The samiti said that organisers who want taller idols should be made to sign bonds, taking full responsibility if something goes wrong during processions. Last year, two boys were electrocuted during the event.
“We are not criminals to be made to sign a bond. There are many processions other than the one taken out by HUS,’’ said peace committee member and zanki committee president Pramod Nema.