Meerut mayor Sunita Verma has sought cancellation of cultural programmes at the centuries-old Nauchandi fair here saying they will distract Muslims during the fasting month of Ramzan that begins Thursday. “A number of Muslim leaders living in vicinity of the Nauchandi fair venue…have appealed to me to get these programmes cancelled as they will distract them from offering prayers. I have written a letter to the city commissioner, Manoj Kumar Chauhan, urging him to… respect religious sentiments,” Verma, a Bahujan Samaj Party member, told The Indian Express.
Meerut’s BJP councillors objected to the mayor’s suggestion and vowed not to allow anyone cancel the programmes. “The (mayor)’s letter is nothing but a conspiracy to drive a wedge between the two communities. Cultural programmes during the fair have been organised for ages. None of our Muslim brothers have objected so far. Why now?” asked BJP councillor Pawan Jindal. He said payments to the artists expected to perform at the fair have been made. “It is neither justified nor viable to cancel the programmes.”
Chauhan said both the groups have given him their viewpoints. “I will talk to leaders of the both communities before taking any decision.”