Several Muslim men have been arrested by Madhya Pradesh police in the past week in Indore after the members of the Hindu militant group Bajrang Dal handed them over to cops alleging they entered venues where Garba was being performed as part of the festivities to celebrate Navratri, a Hindu religious festival.
The arrest toll rises to 14 in Indore, according to Hindustan Times.
They were booked under section 151 knowingly joining or continuing in assembly of five or more persons likely to cause a disturbance of the public peace) of the Indian Penal Code.
This comes after a hate speech delivered by Madhya Pradesh’s culture and home minister Usha Thakur against Muslims who visit the Hindu festival venues.
“Garba pandals are becoming medium of love jihad and those who don’t have any faith in Maa Durga shouldn’t go to Garba,” state culture minister Usha Thakur had said on 9 September.
“Love jihad” is a term used by the Hindutva groups to describe an alleged phenomenon where Muslim men lure Hindu women into marrying them and converting to Islam. Hindu groups claim, without evidence, it is a conspiracy of an organised racket.
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