In UP, Gujarat, Holi revelry triggers rowdyism, intimidation and harassment (Alt News)


The festival of Holi is often marred by allegations of molestation and harassment. While the catchphrase associated with the festival of colours, “Bura na mano, Holi Hai” (Don’t feel bad, it is Holi) is allegedly used to justify such acts, more often than not, women and people from non-Hindu communities become the victim of such nuisance. In extreme cases, what some see as ‘fun’ becomes a nightmare for those not participating in the festival.

Around March 25 (the day of the festival this year), several incidents came to the fore, thanks to social media platforms, where people from the Muslim community were targeted by Holi revellers. Some of the incidents allegedly involved intimidation, harassment and rowdyism, leading to FIRs and arrests.

Anticipating communal disturbance on Holi, the administration in Uttar Pradesh took preemptive measures in Shahjahanpur and Bareilly asking mosques to be covered in tarpaulin. “….they (the clerics) have been told that the mosques will be properly covered so that no mischievous element does anything to disturb communal harmony,” said senior superintendent of police (Bareilly) Ghule Sushil Chandrabhan. This goes to show how a sense of premonition and foreboding among non-participating communities ahead of the festival has perhaps become the ‘new normal’.

Patients Headed to Hospital, Men Going to Funeral — None Spared in Bijnor, UP

In a video that emerged on Sunday, March 24, a group of men can be seen stopping a bike and harassing three travellers – a man and two women, one of whom is wearing a hijab. It can be gauged from the video that the group comprised more than 10 men. They proceed to physically intimidate the trio, drenching them with water and colours despite their protestations. Towards the end of the video, the mob lets the bike pass, but not before breaking into a barrage of religious slogans like ‘Har Har Mahadev’ and ‘Jai Sri Ram.’

The Muslim man seen in the video, identified as Dilshad, was reportedly taking his sister Sophia to a doctor. His mother also had to accompany them since his sister was too unwell to walk properly. The men stopped their vehicle and forcefully smeared them with Holi colours. Dilshad was physically assaulted once he tried to resist the harassment. “Bura na mano, Holi hai (Don’t feel bad, it’s Holi)”, they jeered while doing so. Dilshad alleges that the mob tried to inappropriately touch his mother and sister while raising religious slogans.

This story was originally published in Read the full story here.

Related Articles