Amid tight security that included house arrests and restrictions on people entering communally sensitive Nuh district, some members from Hindu groups offered prayers at key temples on Monday but were stopped from holding a full-scale religious yatra.
The Vishva Hindu Parishad-led organisations had given a call to “resume” the religious yatra that was cut on July 31 when mobs attacked the procession in Nuh. Six people, including two home guards and a cleric, were killed in the communal violence that erupted then in Nuh, and also spread to adjoining areas.
Police made clear that no permission was being given to “complete” the yatra on the last Monday of the holy month of Shravan, and the organisers too had indicated that they would scale down their plans.
The state government had made it clear that local people were free to offer the “jalabhishek” at the temples on the occasion, but no yatra would be permitted. Barricades were erected on the border of Nuh district, and outsiders kept away. The town itself wore a deserted look.
Earlier in the day, there were reports that some leaders from the Hindutva organisations were detained in adjoining Gurugram. Police did not give the numbers, but said they took action to maintain peace.
Only about 15 seers and leaders from Hindu outfits were allowed to enter the Nuh district. They were taken from the Nuh police lines to the three temples in Nalhar, Jhir and Singar on the original yatra route and brought back in four vehicles.
The distance between the first temple at Nalhar and the third at Singar is about 90 kilometres. A religious leader said about 100 local people accompanied them.
No incident of violence has been reported in Nuh or the adjoining districts till the evening.
A video clip, however, surfaced online, purportedly showing a group of people burning an effigy of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar over the restrictions.
Khattar on Sunday asked devotees to offer prayers at temples in their neighbourhood instead of holding any ‘yatra’. Permission has not been granted for the ‘yatra’, he had also said.
Nuh Deputy Commissioner Dhirendra Khadgata said around 15 seers and leaders of some Hindutva outfits were allowed to visit the Shiv temple in Nalhar to perform ‘jalabhishek’ there.
In a statement, he said the ‘jalabhishek’ programmes were held peacefully.
“No organisation was allowed to take out processions in the district. ‘Jalabhishek’ programmes were conducted peacefully throughout the day by the locals at Nalheshwar and Jhir temples,” Khadgata said.
Additional Director General of Police (law and order) Mamta Singh said around 15 people were allowed for the ‘jalabhishek’ at the three temples in Nalhar, Jhir and Singar.
VHP’s working president Alok Kumar, Swami Dharm Dev, Swami Parmanand and others took part in ‘jalabhishek’. It was held peacefully, she said.
After the ‘jalabhishek’ at Nalhar, the ‘yatra’ left for Ferozpur Jhirka’s Jhir temple in four vehicles. It ended with the ‘jalabhishek’ in the Shiv temple in Singar village.
The permission was given by the district administration. The yatra was held peacefully, Swami Dharma Dev told PTI.
National vice-president of the BJP’s minority morcha Chaudhary Zakir Hussain and his wife Naseema Hussain offered prayers at the Nalhar temple. He later released to the media a photo of him at the temple.
Five major checkpoints were set up from the Delhi-Gurugram border until Nuh with media vehicles not being allowed to go beyond the third checkpoint.
According to officials, the vehicle of Hindu seer Jagatguru Paramhans Acharya from Ayodhya was stopped at the Ghamorj toll plaza near Sohna. Acharya told reporters that he and his followers were carrying the water of the Saryu river and the soil of Ayodhya for the ‘jalabhishek’ at Nalhar temple but were stopped by the police.
Meanwhile, Hindu rights leader Kulbhushan Bhardwaj claimed that Hindu leaders have been put under house arrest by the Haryana government.
“This is an attack on the Hindu faith. By putting Hindu leaders under house arrest, the Haryana government has reminded them of the reign of the Mughals,” he said. Police personnel were also deployed outside Bhardwaj’s house.
In Ambala, Vishwa Hindu Takht chief Viresh Shandilya was also detained by police.
The area from Sohna to Nuh wore a deserted look. No shops were open and no locals were seen on the streets.
A 30-year-old resident of Nuh, who didn’t wish to be named, said, “There are no issues here. People here live peacefully and we have closed our shops as a precautionary measure. We saw what happened last time. An atmosphere of fear is being created here for absolutely no reason.” The Nuh district administration had ordered the closure of educational institutions and banks on Monday, suspended mobile Internet and bulk SMS services, and imposed prohibitory orders in the communally-sensitive district as a precautionary measure.
Outsiders were barred from entering Nuh with security personnel being deployed at all entry points of the district.
According to officials, 1,900 Haryana Police personnel and 24 companies of paramilitary forces were deployed to keep a strict vigil. Multiple layers of barricades have been erected by police. Anti-riot vehicles and drones have also been deployed.
On August 13, the Sarv Jatiya Hindu Mahapanchayat had given a call to resume the Brij Mandal Shobha Yatra in Nuh on August 28 which was disrupted by the communal clashes on July 31. The mahapanchayat had then decided that the ‘yatra’ would resume from Nalhar in Nuh and then pass through Firozpur Jhirka’s Jhir temple and Shingar temple in the district. The Nuh deputy commissioner had deputed 57 duty magistrates at designated places in the wake of the call for the ‘shobha yatra.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)