Two weeks after communal violence in Haryana’s Nuh and Gurugram districts, Hindutva groups held a mahapanchayat in neighbouring Palwal and demanded gun licences to defend the community. The conclave, organised under the banner of the Sarv Hindu Samaj, was held in Pondri village of Palwal, which borders Nuh, The Tribune reported.

After denying permission for the event in Nuh, the police had allowed for the event to be held in Palwal on the condition that those attending would not carry weapons and make hateful speech. However, some of the speakers challenged the administration to “stop them” and raised the demand for gun licences, according to The Indian Express.

Azad Singh Arya, the chief of cow vigilante group, Haryana Gau Rakshak Dal, demanded “100 arms for each Hindu village” in the region.

“Everyone should get a rifle, not a revolver, because revolvers do not shoot far,” he can be seen saying in a video from the event. “I request the youth to keep their blood warm. I ask the Prime Minister: why are you not giving us a chief minister like Yogi Adityanath by removing [Manohar Lal] Khattar.”

Arya also said that he salutes the cow vigilantes who have been jailed for killings two Muslim men, Junaid and Nasir, in February.

“Junaid and Nasir were cow killers, and as soon as they were killed, the Rajasthan government stood up for them,” he said.

Another speaker was heard saying about Muslims: “If you raise a finger, we will cut off your hands.”

The mahapanchayat also demanded the abolition of Nuh, which is Haryana’s only Muslim-majority district. The speakers demanded that the district be made cow slaughter-free. Speakers at the conclave also demanded that the National Investigation Agency should look into the violence that broke out in Nuh on July 31.

The Hindutva outfits attending the mahapanchayat announced that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s procession – which had been disrupted during the violence on July 31 – will resume on August 28. The procession will be held on the same route as earlier from Nuh to Ferozepur Jhirka, Arun Jaildaar, the head of the mahapanchayat said.

Six persons were killed in communal clashes between Hindus and Muslims after violence broke out during the Vishwa Hindu Parishad procession on July 31. Two home guards and a Bajrang Dal member were among those who died in the violence that day.

Over the next couple of days, Hindu mobs went on a rampage in Gurugram, torching a mosque in Sector 57, killing its deputy imam and setting fire to shops and shanties of Muslim migrant workers in Sector 70 the next day.

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How communal violence swept Haryana’s Nuh and Gurugram: A timeline

On Sunday, farmer leader Ratan Singh Sorot said at the mahapanchayat that Rs 1 crore should be given to the families of those who died in the violence at Nuh, and those injured should get Rs 50 lakh. He also demanded that the headquarters of a paramilitary force should be set up in Nuh to ensure security.

The mahapanchayat also praised the state government for bulldozing homes of those accused of being involved in violence, but said that the punitive action was not enough.

Most of those whose homes were demolished as part of such bulldozer action were Muslims. Indian law does not allow for demolishing homes as punitive action for crimes, but this pattern has often been observed in states ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

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Collective punishment: Demolitions in Haryana’s Nuh spanned at least 50 kms

Additional Superintendent of Police Kuldeep Singh on Sunday said that the mahapanchayat had been held in a peaceful manner, ANI reported. “The event was very peaceful,” he said. “As of now, no extreme speech has come to notice. The speakers kept their language under control.”

Meanwhile, internet services were on Sunday restored in Nuh, two weeks after they had been suspended in view of the violence, NDTV reported. Schools and colleges had reopened in the district last week. Haryana State Transport bus services have also been fully restored.