Defiant VHP Plans Second ‘Jalabhishek Yatra’ Despite Denial of Permission
In a bold move, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) is preparing to hold its second ‘Jalabhishek Yatra’ along the same route in Haryana’s Nuh, despite being denied permission for the event. The situation becomes intricate for Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, as the decision to organize this yatra originated from village councils, influential bodies in rural parts of the state that hold significant sway during elections.
The Unsettling Dilemma for Khattar
As the G20 summit approaches and with an eye on the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Khattar faces a delicate predicament. The law and order situation, both in light of the G20 summit and the upcoming elections, adds complexity to the decision-making process.
VHP’s Clear Standpoint and Backing from Khaps
The VHP has unambiguously stated its intention to proceed with the yatra. It asserts that as a ‘tirtha yatra’ (pilgrimage), seeking or being denied permission is irrelevant. The yatra, scheduled for August 28, coincides with the last Monday of the Hindu month of Sawan. VHP spokesperson Vinod Bansal emphasized, “This is a nation of pilgrimage. No one has sought any permission and, hence, the question of denial doesn’t arise.” Alok Kumar, the international working president of the VHP, added that the yatra aims to complete the interrupted first yatra, which faced disruption due to external elements.
“Maintaining peace and harmony in the last month of Sawan, Hindu society will complete its dharma yatra in Mewat.” – Alok Kumar
The VHP’s stance is not merely about organizing a second yatra but about completing the original one. The VHP has also exerted pressure on the police, demanding “strict action” against Ferozepur Jhirka MLA Mamman Khan of the Congress for allegedly inciting mob violence. Khan’s remarks on cow protection in the region have caused controversy.
The Role of Khaps and Political Implications
The call for the yatra comes not solely from the VHP but also from the khaps, influential village councils that hold sway over rural Haryana and can influence voting patterns. Being opposed to the yatra could be seen as not just “anti-VHP” but also “anti-khap,” which can carry political implications.
With the Lok Sabha elections around the corner, where 90 constituencies of Haryana will be contested, Khattar faces the challenge of balancing the interests of the VHP and the khaps. Offending either group could have consequences in terms of political support.
Complexities Amplified by Upcoming G20 Summit
The challenges for Khattar are magnified by the impending G20 summit scheduled to take place in New Delhi, where world leaders, including US President Joe Biden, will be in attendance. The global spotlight on New Delhi means that any communal violence in Nuh that spills over to Gurugram could tarnish India’s image on an international scale.
Khattar’s position resembles walking a tightrope, as he must maintain law and order without upsetting any stakeholders. Paramilitary forces are notably present along the proposed yatra route in Nuh, indicating the delicate state of affairs.
Recalling the Nuh Communal Riot
The communal riot that erupted in Nuh, situated 72 km from the national capital, on July 31 resulted in six deaths, including two home guards and a cleric. The violence also spread to neighboring Gurugram, leading to injuries among over 20 police personnel.
Investigations revealed a calculated approach to the violence, with pre-arranged weapons contributing to the clashes. Even the cyber police station in Nuh was targeted during the turmoil. The aftermath has left Nuh in a state of uneasy calm.
In response to the gravity of the situation, the state government relocated the battalion headquarters of the 2nd India Reserve Battalion (IRB) from the Bhondsi police complex to Nuh district, highlighting the imperative of maintaining law, order, and peace.
Chief Minister Khattar’s predicament, stemming from the VHP’s determination to proceed with the ‘Jalabhishek Yatra’ despite denial of permission, underscores the intricate dynamics at play. Balancing political considerations, maintaining law and order, and upholding India’s image on the global stage require a delicate touch. As events unfold, the spotlight will remain on Nuh and the actions taken to navigate this challenging scenario.