The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and its youth wing Bajrang Dal protested in different parts of the country on Wednesday against an attack on a religious procession by a right-wing group in Haryana’s Nuh violence. VHP working president Alok Kumar said the demonstrations were “successful” in all districts of the country with the participation of “thousands of people”.
Communal violence broke out in Haryana’s Nuh district on Monday when a mob tried to stop a VHP procession by pelting stones and setting cars on fire. The violence spread to neighboring Gurugram on Tuesday, where mobs killed a Muslim cleric, torched a restaurant and vandalized shops.
So far, six people have died in the violence, 116 people have been arrested and 90 detained, according to the Haryana government.
VHP and Bajrang Dal today called for demonstrations in every district of the country against the violent attacks… on peaceful pilgrims in Haryana’s Nuh… These demonstrations were successfully held with the participation of millions of people in hundreds of places across the country the right-wing group said in a statement. Demonstrations were also held in several parts of Delhi amid tight security.
Carrying saffron flags and chanting slogans of ‘Jai Shri Ram’, ‘Har Har Mahadev’ and ‘Vande Mataram’, the protesters staged a sit-in at Badarpur border, blocked the road and hampered movement from Faridabad to Delhi.
Bajrang Dal protested against Haryana’s Nuh violence
Delhi Police has beefed up security in the city and used drones to monitor the protests. The VHP also staged a demonstration in Uttar Pradesh’s Noida, defying bans and demanding financial assistance for the families of two Bajrang Dal members it claimed died in Monday’s clash.
In Gautam Buddh Nagar district, Section 144 of the Penal Code (CrPC) prohibits gathering of more than four people. Noida comes under this district.
Hundreds of VHP and Bajrang Dal members and supporters took part in the rally which started from the Noida Stadium in Sector 21A and culminated near the District Magistrate in Sector 27. VHP working president Kumar said a large number of people participated in “nationwide” protests against Monday’s attack.
Some secularists who find peace in creating obstacles have today moved the Supreme Court to stop the VHP and Bajrang Dal from holding protests and demonstrations. They also pleaded for restraint in holding any mahapanchayat today. But the Supreme Court refused (to admit the plea) Kumar said.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court had ordered increased deployment of security personnel in sensitive areas and crackdown on hate speech, but refused to stop the VHP and Bajrang demonstrations. He gave in Delhi. A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and S V Bhatti also ordered the installation of CCTV cameras at vulnerable places and preservation of their footage.
The Supreme Court passed the order after senior advocate C U Singh, appearing for journalist Shaheen Abdullah, said the VHP and Bajrang Dal had announced 23 demonstrations in different parts of the National Capital Region (NCR).
Kumar said “Our demonstrations took place peacefully and within the limits of the law. Therefore, the installation of CCTV cameras and video footage will not have any effect”.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Wednesday appealed for peace in the state and asserted that those found responsible for the clashes would not be spared. The VHP on Tuesday likened the violence in Nuh to a “terrorist attack” and demanded a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
In a press conference, VHP joint general secretary Surendra Jain claimed that the attacks were carried out against Hindu devotees in a “pre-planned manner” and the attackers were “incited” by some Haryana Congress leaders. Alleging intelligence failure on the part of the state police, Jain alleged that rioters used sophisticated weapons and ordinary firearms to attack Hindu devotees during the procession.