A group of Hindu and Muslim realtors , who were organising a garba event in Bharuch as part of the Navratri festivities, on Monday cancelled the programme following protest rallies by saffron outfits.
The garba event, Raas-e-Bharuch, was being organised by a real estate group owned by Jasu Patel, Jaydeepsinh Raj and Asif Patel. While a nod from police to organise it at Dudhara Dairy Ground in Bharuch was still awaited, VHP, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena, and Hindu Jagran Manch held separate rallies against the event and submitted memoranda to District Collector Sandip Sagale in this regard.
Scheduled to start on October 1, Raas-e-Bharuch was cancelled despite assurances from the organisers to saffron outfits that Muslims would not be allowed in the event and the name of Asif Patel would be taken off from publicity material.
The organisers called off the garba event citing “pressure” and “refusal of police nod”, soon after Hindu Jagran Manch organised a protest rally from the railway station to the district collector’s office on Friday. “Only four days are left for the event, and still we do not have police permission for it. Pressure is building on us day-by-day… We have decided to cancel it, although we have invested a lot of money and made part payments to celebrities (Bollywood actors were invited to the event),” said Asif Patel.
DySP N D Chauhan claimed police have not rejected the real estate group’s application for permission to Raas-e-Bharuch, and that they were still looking into it.
The VHP was the first to oppose the garba event, claiming participation of Muslims would hurt “their religious feelings” and also apprehending “eve teasing” by Muslim youths at the programme. It had held a protest rally on September 20 and submitted a memorandum at the collector.
Following assurances from the organisers, VHP south Gujarat general secretary Viral Desai had said that he was “satisfied that the organisers have met all our demands and now we will not oppose the event”.
Other saffron groups, however, continued to protest. “The motive behind organising the event is to earn money. Many Hindu organisations had given memoranda to oppose such event as there would be a law and order problem in Bharuch. We have also requested the Bharuch collector to register a police complaint against the organisers under various IPC sections, including 295 (defiling place of worship),” said Vinod Jadav, a Hindu Jagran Manch leader.
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