Amid a spate of communal clashes during festivals in several parts of the country, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath on Monday said that no religious processions will be allowed in the state without permission.
“Before granting permission [for a procession], an affidavit should be taken from the organiser assuring maintenance of peace and harmony,” the chief minister’s office wrote in Hindi on Twitter. “Permission should be given to only those religious processions, which are traditional. New events should not be given unnecessary permission.”
On Monday, the chief minister held a meeting with police officials to discuss the law and order situation in the state.
With two festivals – Eid and Akshaya Tritiya – likely to fall on the same day in May, along with many other festivities lined up in the coming few days, Adityanath warned that the police need to be sensitive.
“Deal sternly with those issuing mischievous statements,” the chief minister’s office wrote in another tweet. “The anarchists who try to disrupt the [peaceful] atmosphere should be dealt with strictly. There should be no place for such people in civilised society.”
In a series of tweets, he said that all citizens have the freedom to follow their religious practices.
“Although microphones can be used, make sure the sound does not come out of any premises,” he said, adding that installation of loudspeakers at new sites will not be allowed. “Other people should not face any problem.”
He also directed officials to ensure that no religious events disrupt traffic. Adityanath also cancelled the leave of all police and administrative officials with immediate effect.
“Additional police force should be deployed in sensitive areas,” he added. “Monitor the situation using drones. Every day in the evening the police force must do patrolling on foot.”
The orders come in the backdrop of violence during Ram Navami processions in Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Gujarat, West Bengal and Goa.
On Saturday, communal clashes broke out in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri area during a Hanuman Jayanti procession. Ten teams from the Crime Branch and Special Cell have been formed to investigate the incident.
Following the incidents, Opposition leaders of 13 political parties issued a joint statement, condemning Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his silence on the rise in communal violence in the country.
“We are shocked at the silence of the prime minister, who has failed to speak against the words and actions of those who propagate bigotry and those who, by their words and actions, incite and provoke our society,” they noted.