VHP-Bajrang Dal Posters Warn Non-Hindus to Stay Away From Varanasi Ghats


Internet photo

‘River Ganga is our mother, not a picnic spot,’ declared a local Bajrang Dal leader.

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – With the elections round the corner in Uttar Pradesh, the Hindutva brigade have come up with yet another antique to up the ante in the poll-bound state. Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal supporters have put up posters all along the ghats (river banks) of Ganges in Varanasi sternly prohibiting non-Hindus from venturing near the river banks in the city.

Some of the posters in Hindi made their way to the social media. One of them read: “Not a request, but a warning”

Video clips shared by journalists show a group of VHP and Bajrang Dal members, all sporting saffron mufflers around their necks, holding aloft the posters while riding a boat.

Local reports said the posters were seen at Panchganga Ghat, Ram Ghat, Dashashwamedh Ghat, Assi Ghat and Manikarnika Ghat of the city, which is represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament.

Rajan Gupta, a local VHP leader, is seen in a video clip that showed up on the internet, saying, “This is not a poster, but a message to non believers of Sanatan Dharma. They (people belonging to other religious groups) should stay away from symbols of Sanatan culture. This is not a picnic spot.”

The posters have come up amidst raging election campaign for the upcoming assembly polls where the stakes are high for every political entity. The rightwing Hindu groups campaigning for the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) are openly playing communal card to mobilise Hindu voters both online and on the ground. In their desperation they are hurling verbal abuse on minorities with impunity banking on the unusually lenient law enforcement agencies.

The city and the river have a religious significance for Hindus. Of late, their importance has grown manifold in political terms after Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor project on 5,000 hectares last month at a project cost of Rs 399 crore.

The Wire reported that the rightwing groups are planning to put up such posters outside temples in Varanasi as well.

“River Ganga is our mother, it is not a picnic spot,” Bajrang Dal’s Varanasi coordinator, Nikhil Tripathi Rudr was quoted by a Wire report. “Those who consider the Ganga a picnic spot should stay away from it. If they do not, Bajrang Dal will make sure they do,” he sounded a warning.

However, Opposition parties like Congress have termed the move communal taken with an intent to polarise the city. They said they would meet the administration to lodge their protests and demand action against the rightwing groups for attempting to disturb communal harmony of the city.

Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.

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