One more BJP MLA in Madhya Pradesh has linked ‘love jihad’ to garba and exhorted the administration to ask the organisers to insist on identity cards and allow non-Hindu males only if they give an affidavit that they have faith in Hinduism and its gods.
“How come Muslim youth suddenly get interested in Hindu festivals when it comes to Navratri. If they want to participate they will have to believe in Hinduism. Else, they should be accompanied by either their sister or wife or mother. Garba is not just dance, it’s an expression of faith,’’ MLA Rameshwar Sharma told The Indian Express.
The 44-year-old legislator raised the matter on Monday during the district planning committee meeting in Bhopal attended by cabinet minister Gopal Bhargava, police and officials of local administration.
“What’s wrong in asking for identity and address proof before rather than after something goes wrong. Admittedly, the festival itself has degenerated due to commercialisation but that does not mean we should not remain alert to stop elements with criminal bend of mind,’’ said Sharma, who was municipal councillor for a decade before his maiden victory in the 2013 Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections from Huzur constituency in Bhopal.
The former Bajrang Dal activist organises big events like Dharma Yatra, Kanwad Yatra, Bhagwat Katha and Kavi Sammelan in the state capital.
“It does not necessarily have to be the BJP’s stand. But eventually the party and other legislators will echo what I am saying today,’’ said Sharma, the second BJP legislator after Indore MLA Usha Thakur to publicly say that non-Hindus be kept away from garba venues.
“Whether you name it ‘love jihad’ or something else it has to stop,’’ the MLA said and claimed that those present in the meeting agreed with what he said. Despite repeated attempts, Bhargava could not be contacted.