The authorities woke up to the controversy after Mirror reported about VHP and Bajrang Dal activists sprinkling cow urine on visitors despite many of them objecting to it at the Lions Club and Thanganat garba venues at Sector 11 in Gandhinagar on Thursday.
Following strict instructions from the top, cops of all police stations in Gandhinagar increased patrolling and stepped up policing at all the garba venues on Friday.
The right wing outfit was reined in by the top cops who told them in no uncertain terms to stop their ‘purification’ drive. Even the organisers have now opposed it. As the saffron group threatened to repeat the drive at Gandhinagar Cultural Forum Garba in Sector 6 on Friday, the organisers called in the police to ensure a trouble-free garba and prevent any such untoward incident.
When asked about the drive at the cultural forum on Friday, VHP Gandhinagar incharge Mahadev Rabari was on the back foot as he said, “As the whole drive has taken a political turn, we don’t want any more controversy. We met the garba organisers and accepted their request to cancel our drive. We have decided to withdraw the campaign in the city, but we may conttinue in towns of the district. There will be no gau-mutra but only tilak.” Amit Upadhyay of Bajrang Dal said, “We will withdraw the gau-mutra drive. We will meet our leaders and decide on the future course of action. We may continue the drive, but only with tilak to prevent any controversy.”
Mirror had on Thursday reported of Bajrang Dal and VHP activists forcefully sprinkling cow’s urine on visitors at Lions Club and Thanganat garba in the state capital. At both the venues, some people had opposed the gau-mutra being sprinkled on them. Only after one garba reveller filed a complaint against the Bajrang Dal for sprinkling gau-mutra against his wishes and Mirror reported about it on Friday, did things change. Range IG Manoj Sashidhar and SP Virendrasinh Yadav instructed all police stations in the capital to immediately stop this activity. Following their instructions, all garba venues in Gandhinagar were seen with police bandobast. As right wing groups threatened gau-mutra drive at the cultural forum garba, strict police bandobast was kept directly under the supervision of Police Inspector D D Sodha.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Vijay Patel said, “We have deputed PI Sodha at the cultural forum garba on Friday to prevent this drive. We never allow such type of activities. We have also asked organisers not to allow such people under any political pressure.” It should be noted that on the eve of first day of Navratri, VHP general secretary Ranchhod Bharwad cautioned non-Hindus from visiting garba venues in the name of love-jihad and creating nuisance. Organiser of Gandhinagar Cultural Forum Garba who did not wished to be named said, “We do not want any controversy. So have asked those conducting the gau-mutra drive not to come to our venue. We also have the support of the police.”