Uttarakhand: Tensions High in Purola After Alleged Elopement Attempt (The Wire)

As many as 40 shops were shut down earlier this week and shop owners belonging to the minority community "had left town" amid brewing communal strife, a report said. The police, however, denied this claim.

New Delhi: Tensions were high in Utarkshi’s Purola after an alleged ‘love jihad’ case when two men, one of whom belongs to a minority community, were caught in an alleged attempt to elope with a local minor girl on May 26, the Times of India reported.

As many as 40 shops were shut down earlier this week and shop owners belonging to the minority community “had left town” amid brewing communal strife, the report said.

The situation refused to die down as shops belonging to members of the Muslim community remained closed for the third day in a row on Wednesday, the TOI report said. Several thelas (vegetable carts) and temporary shops of the people hailing from the minority community, too, remained closed.

One of the shop owners told TOI, “Many of those who left didn’t have their homes here and were living in rented accommodations.” Another member of the community alleged that “the situation became tense only after some political parties fueled it for their own vested interests.”

According to TOI, the shopkeepers of the minority community also alleged that traders’ associations have asked them to get a letter from their shop owner or landlord, “taking complete responsibility for our activities on a stamp paper”. “This condition is completely impractical, as no one will take responsibility for another person, especially in this tense atmosphere,” said a local barber who hails from the minority community, the newspaper reported.

Virendra Rawat, local Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader, told TOI that “people from the minority community come to Purola as shopkeepers and daily wagers but work on their religious propaganda”.

“Due to lack of proper police verification, these people are secretly brainwashing villagers, particularly young girls. Having said that, we are not against any religion but this is not acceptable. Police and administration should take serious steps to stop such activities, before the situation becomes worse,” Rawat said.

According to a report in Hindustan, local traders’ body head Manmohan Thalval had given a call to shut down the market in Uttarkashi on June 2, and asked traders to participate in a procession to prevent the recurrence of any such incident in the area.

However, the police are claiming that the situation in Purola has returned to normal.

Superintendent of Police, Uttarkashi, Arpan Yaduvanshi told The Wire that no such procession has been taken out in the area. ”Everything is under control. The police have no data on anybody leaving town. We have not received any such information and these are unverified reports,” he added…

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

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