Hindu outfits Sunday held a mahapanchayat in Haryana’s Palwal district where they announced that they would resume the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s (VHP) Braj Mandal Yatra on August 28 in Nuh district after it was disrupted by July’s communal violence.
While Nuh police had denied permission to the ‘Sarva Jatiye Mahapanchayat’, police in adjoining Palwal had given it clearance with conditions, including no hate speech and weapons. But Sunday’s event, held under heavy police deployment in Pondri village, saw some speakers challenging the administration “to stop them”, demanding lenient gun licences for “self-defence” and calling for the removal of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. One of these speakers even exhorted people to buy rifles, “as they shoot farther”.
This speaker, a gun-wielding “guru” named Azad Singh Arya, said: “Everyone should get a rifle, not a revolver, because revolvers do not shoot far. I request the youth to keep their blood warm. I ask the Prime Minister: why are you not giving us a Chief Minister like Yogi Adityanath by removing Khattar?”
Outfits at the event, including the VHP, demanded that Nuh district should be abolished and cow slaughter banned in the area. They said the National Investigation Agency (NIA) should probe the communal violence.
A police spokesperson said action would be taken if objectionable material is found in the speeches. “We have a complete video of the panchayat. We are looking into it. If any objectionable thing is found, we will take action as per law.”
Arya also brought up the case of Nasir and Junaid, who were killed, allegedly by cow vigilantes, in February. “I salute those who were martyred in this violence. I also salute those in jail for the Nasir and Junaid murder case. Junaid and Nasir were big cow killers, and as soon as they were killed, the Rajasthan government stood up for them. The Hindus of Mewat and nearby villages should get at least 100 arms licenses in each village.”
Palwal’s former MLA Subhash Chaudhary, referring to an FIR filed by police in Gurugram after a mahapanchayat was held there last week, said: “How dare a police official do this? Police have no right to stop us… MLA Sanjay Singh ji is sitting here. I am asking him to get that case cancelled immediately…”
Ratan Singh Sorot, a farm leader, said a committee of 51 people from the panchayat has decided that Nuh district should be abolished and the area should be made cow slaughter-free. “Aid of Rs 1 crore should be given to the families of the people killed in the Nuh violence, besides a government job. The injured should get Rs 50 lakh each.”
He claimed that cow smuggling is one of the root causes of the violence in Nuh and said a paramilitary force headquarters should be set up in the area to ensure security.
Arun Jaildaar, head of the mahapanchayat, said: “The yatra will follow the same route as earlier — from Nuh to Ferozepur Jhirka. The government should provide arms to the people of Nuh and its adjoining areas leniently. Along with this, all the cases should be transferred from Nuh to Gurugram or any other district, so that a free and fair trial can be conducted.”
The mahapanchayat also demanded laws against foreign immigrants. “Bangladeshis and Rohingya should be thrown out, this is one of the main resolutions of the mahapanchayat,” said Sorot.
Another speaker, Kulbhushan Bhardwaj, said: “When the mahapanchayat was held in Tigra village in Gurugram, two people were booked by the police, one of whom was me. I want to tell the government that if any case has to be registered here too, write my name, I am not afraid of them.”
Six people, including two home guards and a cleric, died in communal clashes that erupted in Nuh when the VHP procession was attacked by a mob on July 31.