A mahapanchayat that was called in Dehradun on June 18 was cancelled after Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami assured action, the police said.
SSP Dehradun Dilip Singh Kunwar said, “There was an in-principle agreement between the parties and the proposed mahapanchayat has been cancelled after talks were held at several levels and on the assurance of the Chief Minister’s action.” The Uttarkashi district administration on Wednesday refused permission for a Mahapanchayat proposed to be held on June 15 in Uttarakhand’s Purola town, which has been witnessing communal tensions over an alleged attempt to abduct a minor girl last month.
The Chief Minister said, “We have appealed to all the people to maintain peace.” He said that if anyone tries to vitiate the atmosphere, the law will take its course. “In the incidents that have happened so far, the administration has acted properly. If someone is guilty then the law will work against him. No one should take the law into their hands,” he added.
Earlier, the mahapanchayat at Dehradun was called following a meeting of the Ulema and some responsible people under the chairmanship of city Qazi Maulana Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi at Jama Masjid in Doon’s Paltan Bazar.
People from the Muslim community hailing from Dehradun, Vikasnagar, Haridwar, Roorkee, Haldwani and Udhamsinghnagar were scheduled to participate in the mahapanchayat, the city Qazi had said earlier.
The city is under curfew as section 144 has been imposed in the town following the massive protests and scuffle between two groups in Purola. The town is under curfew till June 19.
“The traders’ association have closed the Purola market. Section 144 CrPC imposed by the administration is being followed. The police are keeping an eye on the area and are getting support from the local people. There are no reports of a violation of Section 144 CrPC”, said Inspector Santosh Kumar, Uttarkashi.
It is noteworthy that a few members of Bajrang Dal reached Purola Stadium to register their symbolic protest. Several vehicles of those attempting to attend the Mahapanchayat were stopped by the police administration at Naugaon, around 20 km from the town, where they sat on the road. Slogans of ‘Jai Shree Ram’ and ‘Hindu Ekta’.
Members of the VHP and Bajrang Dal also submitted a memorandum to Purola Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Devanand Sharma over the “misbehaviour of Hindu sisters and daughters by members of Muslim community”.
“Keeping in mind the sentiments of the Hindus hurt by the incident of 26th May, and in relation to the false allegations made by the people of a particular community, strict action should be taken against the conspiracy to defame the Hindu society and Hinduist organisations…,” the memorandum said, urging that action be taken against “the culprits”.
Notably, on May 26, a Hindu minor girl was abducted by two youths, one of whom is from the Muslim community. The two accused have been identified as Uved Khan and Jitendra Saini. One of the accused owns a cycle repairing shop and the other one is engaged in making handmade blankets in the main market area of Purola.
Uved Khan trapped a Hindu girl studying in class 9, who is the daughter of one of the local shopkeepers in the market. He promised her marriage and then abducted her with the help of the other accused to the Vikasnagar region of the state. The duo were caught and taken into police custody.
Following the abduction attempt, there was a rage among the local people of the town and they had staged widespread protest across the city.
As many as 40 shops in the hill town of Purola in Uttarkashi, 145 km from Dehradun, remained closed following the crime. The people enraged by the incident also demanded the shutdown of shops owned by Islamists and outsiders in the main market. They also demanded verification of non-local businessmen who run their businesses in rented premises in Purola. They also took out procession beating drums and shouting slogans against “love jihad band karo” in all these towns.
Following the abduction locals launched massive protest and demanded the shutdown of the shops owned by outsiders, the majority of whom are from the minority community. The locals demanded police verification of the outsiders before lending them the shops.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) President from Purola, Virendra Singh Rawat said, “Saini happened to introduce Uved to the girl. He also influenced the girl in favor of Uved and helped the boy abduct the girl. The girl was actually trapped in a love affair by the Muslim accused who later also promised her of marriage. He then abducted her with the help of the other accused.”
He added, “Outsiders most of whom are from the minority communities migrate to Purola and set up small businesses like puncture, vehicle repairs, etc and then execute their agenda. They eye on Hindu girls and try to convert them to other religions. Several cases like these have happened in the past. This case is also one of those. Its simple love jihad,” These activists claimed that the accused Uved Khan had tried to conceal his identity in order to trap the minor.
Yamuna Valley Hindu Jagriti Sangathan president Keshav Giri Maharaj also accused traders from outside of assuming fake identities and trapping innocent daughters in the hills. “The incidents of abduction are increasing. The incident in Purola is a recent example of this. A similar incident had also happened in the Naugaon market,” he told PTI. In the meantime, representatives of the local traders’ organisation, who also participated in the protest met with Devanand Sharma, the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) of Purola. They demanded thorough verification of all the people who are not local and are staying and working in Purola.
V Murugesan, additional director general of police (law & order) denied reports claiming that members of the minority communities have left the city. “Nobody has left the town as it is not that easy to just leave businesses and homes behind in one night. The situation is completely under control. The accused, who were arrested, were produced before the local court which later sent them to jail,” he said.
In the recent update, the police authorities have began police verification of the outsiders as demanded by the local shopkeepers.