The Hindu Utsav Samiti in Madhya Pradesh has urged the administration to use Aadhaar cards to identify non-Hindu participants, especially Muslims, and restrict them from entering garbas.
“It’s not easy to make a fake Aadhaar card, unlike other documents like voter identity cards. The moment one furnishes his Aadhaar card, there will be no doubt about his identity,” HUS president Kailash Begwani told The Indian Express, admitting that the demand was an attempt to keep Muslim participants away.
“We get several complaints after the festival is over about exploitation of Hindu girls by those belonging to other religions. They befriend Hindu girls during practice sessions, and then entice them during the festival,’’ added Begwani.
The demand was raised at a peace committee meeting called by the Bhopal district administration ahead of the festival. The administration is yet to take a call on the matter. The HUS, which has more than 6,000 members, organises big Hindu festivals, including Holi and Dussehra, but garbas, reported the newspaper.
In 2015, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had put up banners at many garba venues across Gujarat asking non-Hindus to stay away from the dance programmes.
“Navratri is a sacred Hindu festival.People who don’t believe in idol worship should stay away. This festival is for Hindus only,” said a banner put up at more than 100 venues.
In 2016, the organisers of two garba events in Gujarat’s Bharuch district decided not to allow Muslims at the venue after protests from the VHP.