4 Muslim Men, Targeted By Bajrang Dal, Arrested At Indore Garba Event.
Bajrang Dal, a right-wing group linked to the ruling BJP, accused the students of the so-called “Love Jihad”.
Four Muslims, including two students, were arrested at a Garba university event in Madhya Pradeshs Indore on Sunday after a large group of right-wing activists allegedly broke in and broke loose, accusing the university of promoting “love jihad.”
Police said they were “pre-trial arrests” following the clashes at Oxford College and that the men were released on bail. A magistrate ordered the release of Adnan Shah, Umar, Abdul Qadir and Syed Saqib after they posted bail of 50,000 rupees each.
The group that broke into the university festivities belonged to the Bajrang Dal, which is linked to the states that govern the BJP. No action was taken against them. Police have fined the university for violating Covid rules.
The arrested men and their families say they were attacked because of their name, even though they showed their college IDs.
Adnan Shah, 21, says he was asked by the Garba event organizing committee to volunteer. He was helping students park their vehicles at the bicycle stand when Bajrang Dal members allegedly broke in.
“My duty was at the bike stand when 100 to 150 people broke in and started a ruckus,” said Adnan, a B.Com sophomore.
He said he was among the 25 student volunteers present there, but was singled out. “When I showed them my identity card, they said it didn’t mean anything and they asked me why I was there,” he said.
Members of the Bajrang Dal alleged “love jihad”, a term used by the right wing to accuse Muslim men of tricking Hindu women into relationships for the purpose of converting them.
A Bajrang Dal leader, Tarun Devda, said in a police complaint that the district administration had allowed only 800 on the show, but many more showed up as organizers turned it into a commercial event by selling tickets. He also accused the university of “encouraging Muslims” to attend a Garba program organized during the Navratra festival.
In addition to Adnan, the police took another Muslim student and two other Muslim men who had bought tickets for the event. Police defended the arrests as a measure to restore peace.
“By the time we got to the scene, 5,000 people had gathered there. An FIR was registered against the university and we arrested four young people to keep the peace,” Prashant Chaubey, a high-ranking police officer, said of the arrest.
Relatives of one of the arrested men told News agencies that the young men were invited to the university for the performance and were later taken away and accused of practicing so-called “love jihad.”
“The constitution of this country does not allow Muslim children to attend functions at their university,” said Sajid Shah, one of the relatives. Earlier in the day, controversial posters calling for “non-Hindus” to be excluded from Garba events were seen outside of various universities in another part of Madhya Pradesh.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), another right-wing group, had posted posters in public places in Ratlam. The police took no action saying there was no formal complaint.
“I found out about the posters through the media. When we investigated, we learned that they are private functions and that they are doing it in their colonies and privately. No one has objected, so it is not a recognizable crime, “said Gaurav Tiwari, a police officer.
On whether posters like these amount to propagating community enmity, he said: “No, this cannot be defined as propagating community discord.”
In 2014, BJP leader Usha Thakur had warned Garba organizers not to allow non-Hindus and asked them to screen participants based on their voter cards. Ms. Thakur is now the State Minister for Culture and Tourism.