Just a few days after the Hindu Utsav Samiti (HUS) in Madhya Pradesh urged the administration to use Aadhaar cards to keep non-Hindus away from Garba events, the Sanskriti Bachao Manch (SBM) has demanded that entry should be given only if participants apply tilak on forehead and drink Panchagavya, besides unique identity number.
Panchagavya is a concoction prepared by mixing five products of cow-- dung, urine, and milk, curd and ghee.
Recently, the HUS raised the demand
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, Its president Kailash Begwani had admitted 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,’’ said Begwani.
SBM convenor Chandrashekhar Tiwari, who earlier headed Bajrang Dal, told The Indian Express
that drinking panchgavya cleanses one’s soul. “Hinduism lays emphasis on it but Muslims won’t drink it and will be found out,” he said, adding that Muslim boys “infiltrate” garba pandals and “trap” Hindu girls as part of “love jihad”.
According to the report, the Bhopal-based Hindu body said it had appealed to parents through religious and social groups on WhatsApp to instruct their daughters to choose garba partners only after knowing their real identity and background. He said he has also appealed garba organisers to allow only religious songs at the venue.
Tiwari, however, claimed that Hindu youths would not refuse to taste Panchgavya because they are used to it.
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.