The Panchmahals district administration has come down heavily on the garba organisers for agreeing to demands made by a Hindu outfit to keep Muslims off the venue on the basis that it was a religious function and not a social gathering, and has asked them to allow people from all religion to participate.
The organisers of the two largest garba — Ma Shakti and Adhya Shakti — on Saturday denied that they had ever expressed their intention to keep Muslims off the venue, as per demands made by an outfit called Hindu Hitrakshak Samiti, and said they would ensure that people from all communities participated in the event.
They made this statement before the Panchmahals Collector P Bharti in the presence of Superintendent of Police Raghvendra Vatsa. “We called the meeting of the garba organisers and questioned them over their statement in the media that they will not allow Muslims from entering the venue, as demanded by a Hindu outfit. They have denied having made any such statement and ensured that no such discrimination will be allowed,” Collector Bharti said.
SP Raghvendra Vatsa said that the administration did not support any such partisan approach to a function like garba where people from all communities are allowed to visit. He said that the performance licence given by the sub-divisional magistrate to the organisers will have it mentioned that they do not discriminate the visitors on the basis of their religion.
The Hindu outfit that was formed just a few weeks ago to keep check on “love jihad” that they believed was being carried out by Muslim youths who visit garbas to lure Hindu girls, had called a meeting of garba organisers asking their support to keep a check on the visits by Muslims to the venue.
They said they have formed a team of “volunteers” who will be placed at strategic locations at the entrance of the venue to identify and keep Muslims out of the venue. Organisers of none of the two garba venues could be reached for comments.