With the VHP asserting that Hindu groups would go ahead with its procession in Haryana’s Nuh on Monday, authorities have ordered the closure of educational institutions and banks on the day, suspended mobile Internet and bulk SMS services, and imposed prohibitory orders in the communally-sensitive district.
Haryana Director General of Police Shatrujeet Kapur said the administration has denied permission for the yatra due to a meeting of the G20 Sherpa Group, scheduled to be held in Nuh during September 3-7, and to maintain law and order in the aftermath of the July 31 violence.
In view of the yatra call, Mr Kapur presided over a meeting with senior officers of bordering states through videoconferencing and called for a coordinated effort to effectively deal with the situation. The meeting was attended by senior police officers of Punjab, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and the Union Territory of Chandigarh.
The government announced the decision to suspend mobile Internet from August 26-28, apprehending the spread of rumours through social media ahead of or during Monday’s rally.
Nuh Deputy Commissioner Dhirendra Khadgata told PTI over phone that schools, colleges and banks shall remain closed on August 28.
General movement of the public is also restricted. Shops are also advised to remain closed on Monday, he said, adding there will be strict enforcement of prohibitory orders under CrPC Section 144.
He also said there is no permission for any yatra.
The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Saturday said the “shobha yatra” would be taken out in Nuh on August 28 and asserted there was no need to obtain permission from the administration for such religious events.
The organisation, however, said it would inform the administration about the procession and was open to discussion on its form and size as “we do not want to cast a shadow on G20 event”.
Addressing a press conference in Delhi, VHP joint general secretary Surendra Jain said the yatra would be taken out by the Sarva Hindu Samaj of Mewat, not the VHP.
He also appealed to people of other areas of Haryana to take out similar yatras in their respective localities and not join the one in Mewat.
Mr Jain hoped that the yatra will remain “peaceful”, claiming that Muslims of the area have offered to cooperate.
The order to suspend mobile Internet was issued by Additional Chief Secretary (Home) TVSN Prasad on Saturday.
The district administration has also imposed Section 144 of the CrPC, prohibiting the assembly of four or more people in an area, as a precautionary measure. This order will be effective from August 26-28, said officials.
During this period, no person will be allowed to carry weapons such as licensed firearms, lathis, axes and others.
The Haryana government had earlier suspended mobile Internet services in Nuh after communal clashes broke out.
Six people, including two home guards and a cleric, were killed in the communal clashes that erupted in Nuh and its adjoining areas when the VHP procession was attacked by a mob on July 31.
According to an official statement on Saturday, police chief Mr Kapur said despite permission being denied for the yatra, there are inputs that certain organisations have invited people from Haryana and neighbouring states to reach Nuh on August 28.
He said all necessary arrangements have been made by the Haryana Police in view of the yatra call. Police personnel have been deployed to maintain law and order. As a preventive measure, mobile Internet has been suspended in Nuh.
While emphasising the need for sharing intelligence inputs to effectively deal with the situation, Mr Kapur asked the senior police functionaries of bordering states to ensure regular monitoring of social media and share information about the people who try to disrupt peace through hate speeches and take action against them according to law.
Inter-state barricading should also be done to prevent any kind of mobilisation of people, he asserted. Nobody will be allowed to take the law into their hands.
Mr Kapur said Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Mamta Singh will be the nodal officer and stationed in Nuh.
He asked the police officers of bordering states that in case any incident that can disrupt communal harmony comes to their notice, it should be shared on a real-time basis so that preventive action can be taken on time.
Nuh Deputy Commissioner Dhirendra Khadgata, meanwhile, on Saturday issued orders under Section 3(1) of the Punjab Village and Small Town Patrol Act, 1918, to set up “Thikri Pehra” in all the villages and towns of Nuh district from August 26 to 28.
“Thikri Pehra” is based on the concept of people guarding themselves in case of some emergency situation through community policing.
Nuh’s neighbouring districts, including Gurugram and Faridabad, have been put on alert in view of the yatra call.
According to the Faridabad police, it has come to its notice that some anti-social elements are spreading misleading news through social media that the yatra has been given permission and are encouraging people to take part in it. Such people are being monitored and strict action will be taken against them, they said.
Meanwhile, in Chandigarh, Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda, asked to comment on the proposed yatra, said it is everyone’s right to hold yatras.
“No one should have any objection to the yatras, but the government should take precaution in each case, considering its seriousness. Despite knowing everything last time, the government did not take proper steps regarding the safety of the yatra and the government did not take cognizance of the provocative statements, which led to violence,” Mr Hooda said.
Mr Hooda said that religious yatras were taken out even during the erstwhile Congress government, but there was never any violence. But such incidents have become common under the BJP government, he alleged.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)