The Mahapanchayat, an anti-Muslim gathering called by Hindutva groups in Purola town in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi district did not take place on Thursday, June 15, 2023. The district administration had imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC, banning the assembly of four or more people till June 19. Shops in the town remained shut amid heavy police deployment.
Although the Mahapanchayat called by Hindu militant groups, mainly the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal, against what they termed incidents of “love jihad”, was not held, a few members of the Bajrang Dal reached Purola Stadium to register their symbolic protest.
Meanwhile, Nainital High Court had directed the Uttarakhand government to ensure that law and order is maintained in all parts of the state and that there should be no loss of life and property.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Rakesh Thapliyal issued the direction while issuing notice in a PIL filed by Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR) and mentioned by lawyer Shahrukh Alam.
The urgent petition was filed before the High Court on Wednesday after the Supreme Court of India refused to entertain it asking the petitioner to approach the HC to intervene.
The Mahapanchayat proposed by Hindutva groups in Purola called off after state intervention, Uttarakhand government told HC.
Advocate General of Uttarakhand SN Babulkar informed the bench that the ‘Mahapanchayat has been called off at the intervention of state and situation has been under control to an extent.
Moreover, the HC directs all concerned parties to refrain from escalating the situation on social media and media debates in an attempt to normalise the situation.
Bench adds in the order: “Petitioner, its associates and all other concerned shall refrain from participating in social media debates in order to normalise the situation.”
Alam: “Not just the petitioner, but the organisations too.”
CJ: “We have said ‘all concerned’.”
“This decision is a positive step towards ensuring peace, harmony, and the protection of every individual’s rights in the state. We appreciate the court’s efforts in promoting peaceful coexistence among communities,” Mohammad Wasiq Nadim Khan, National Secretary, APCR, said to Maktoob.
Khan said: “While we acknowledge that the Mahapanchayat has been called off, we urge the state government to ensure the safety of Muslim traders and allow them to reopen their shops in Purola town. It is vital to address the ground reality of fear and polarization that hampers the normal functioning of businesses and threatens the livelihoods of innocent individuals.”
“We hope that the authorities will take prompt action to investigate incidents, register comprehensive FIRs, and bring the perpetrators of hate crimes to justice, thereby upholding the principles of justice, equality, and harmony,” he added.