The Madhya Pradesh government on Tuesday asked organisers of garba events to check the identity cards of participants, three weeks after a state minister claimed that “love jihad” took place during such occasions, PTI reported.
“Love jihad” is a conspiracy theory espoused by Hindutva activists, who allege that it involves Muslim men forcibly converting Hindu women to Islam through marriage.
On September 8, state Culture Minister Usha Thakur suggested that the identity cards of persons entering such venues should be checked to prevent instances of “love jihad”, PTI reported.
Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra on Tuesday said that there should not be an atmosphere of suspicion during the festivities, which is why venues have been asked to check ID cards.
“Navratri, which is a festival of the worship of Goddess Durga, is a matter of faith,” Mishra told reporters. “In order to ensure peace and harmony on this holy occasion, garba organisers have been directed to give entry only after checking identity cards.”
Last year, Hindutva groups had objected to the entry of non-Hindus at garba events in Madhya Pradesh, according to The New Indian Express. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad had put up posters at several venues in the Ratlam district banning non-Hindus from dance programmes.