It is the paramount duty of the state to maintain law, order and peace, the Uttarakhand High Court observed on Thursday while hearing a plea seeking to prevent Hindutva groups from holding a mahapanchayat, or conclave, in Uttarkashi district, The Hindu reported.

The conclave was scheduled to take place in the district’s Purola town where communal tensions have been brewing since last week. Hindutva groups have issued threats to Muslim traders to shut their shops and leave the state by Thursday following an alleged attempt by two men to kidnap a Hindu girl.

The alleged kidnappers – Ubed Khan (24) and Jitender Saini (23) – were arrested on May 27, a day after the alleged kidnapping bid.

The Hindutva groups have alleged that the kidnapping bid was a case of “love jihad” – a debunked conspiracy theory according to which Muslim men lure Hindu women into romantic relationships in order to convert them to Islam.

On Tuesday, the Uttarkashi administration denied permission to the Hindutva groups to hold the conclave.

At Thursday’s hearing, the state government told the Uttarakhand High Court that the event has been called off, reported Bar and Bench.

Also read: ‘Everyone is frightened’: Muslims in Uttarakhand’s Purola recount a campaign to hound them out

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rakesh Thapliyal directed the state government to submit a detailed report on the developments within three weeks. The court also asked all parties concerned in the case to not participate in social media and television debates.

Meanwhile, prohibitory orders banning the assembly of more than four persons under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code were imposed in Purola on Thursday. The restrictions will stay in effect till June 19. Shops remained closed on Thursday and police patrolled the streets to ensure law and order.

Some Hindutva group members assembled at a field in Purola on Thursday morning but the police dispersed them. The police also stopped people who were on their way to attend the conclave.