Bajrang Dal, a Hindu right-wing organisation, has urged organisers of Navaratri celebrations in Hyderabad to only allow Hindus to participate – and has even asked them to ensure this by checking people’s Aadhaar cards. According to the controversial outfit, this is to prevent “Love Jihad” – a euphemism used by the Hindu right for real or imagined romantic relationships between Hindu women and Muslim men. They’ve also warned that their karyakartas will be present at Navratri events in the city to “take action” against non-Hindus entering the venues.
In a letter to organisers of Dandiya and Garba events – traditional Gujarati dances that people participate in during Navaratri – Bajrang Dal claimed that non-Hindu men who did not have an “devotion” during Navaratri used the occasion to harass women, and to “trap” them in “Love Jihad”. The outfit told event organisers and venue owners to take measures to prevent "unwanted situations" during Navaratri.
The letter said: “Since a couple of years its been observed that groups of youth of non-Hindu communities are entering these events and since they have no concern and respect towards the divinity of the event they often are misbehaving with the women participating in Garbha/dandiya. They also manhandle the men who come to the rescue of the victims. Also, the said miscreants used these events as places to trap innocent girls and thus leading to Love-Jihad cases. The event managers are hiring Non-Hndu bouncers which seems to be a main cause for these miscreants to enter these events. Another major lapse that’s facilitating these miscreant’s entry is lack of monitoring and control on who enters the events.” (sic)
The letter asked event managers to mandate Aadhaar cards at the entry spot to detect non-Hindus entering into the venues and also to avoid employing non-Hindu Bouncers for these events. When TNM reached out to Bajrang Dal, Kailash Sajjan, media convener said, "Dandiya and Garba are devotional performances through which Hindus express their devotion, why should people who don’t believe in Hindu idol worship come? They come and disrespect the goddess."
The Bajrang Dal said they’ve also sent a letter to the three commissionerates in the city. Speaking to TNM, the Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad, Anjani Kumar said that there were no issues at any of the Navaratri celebration venues in the city. Rubbishing the claims of harassment by non-Hindu men, he said, “Anyone can claim anything, but I have collected information from all the Inspectors, inspection is going on, and there is no disturbance anywhere. We are collecting information every two hours, everything is normal.”