Uttarakhand Hindu Group Booked for Banning Non‑Hindus From Local Temples
A right-wing Hindu organization, Hindu Yuva Vahini, has put up banners outside more than 150 temples in Dehradun prohibiting the entry of non-Hindus; the banners caution that anyone violating the entry rule will be “immediately dealt with.” The Uttarakhand Police has registered an FIR against members for such a ban, according to The Quint.
The Hindu outfit’s poster ban came days after a 14-year-old Muslim boy was brutally assaulted for drinking tap water from Dasna Devi temple in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, which prohibits the entry of Muslims and other non-Hindus on its premises. Jeetu Randhawa, state general secretary of Hindu Yuva Vahini, said the Hindu Yuva Vahini’s decision to put posters in Uttarakhand was in support of Yati Narasinghanand Saraswati, the head priest of Dasna temple, whose disciple beat the boy.
The Uttarakhand police has registered a case under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code (for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, etc.) against the person whose number appears on the banners. The police say efforts are being made to remove these banners.
“Why are they trying to favor the Muslims like this? I can not believe this is happening in a place like Uttarakhand. I do not care if they register a case against me, but I am going to ensure that these posters are up outside each temple in all of Uttarakhand,” Randhawa said in response to the FIR. The organization says it now plans to put up similar banners outside every temple in the state of Uttarakhand.
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The outfit justifies its move by saying these temples are places of faith and reverence for people who follow the Sanatan Dharma — a term that folds in teachings of the Hindu Vedas and Upanishads — and said such a prohibition is necessary to protect the sanctity of the temples from non-Hindus. “Sometimes our idols are broken down, or people are seen peeing on the Shiva idols, you must have seen all this and how often it happens,” Govind Wadhwa, the convenor of the right-wing outfit’s Uttarakhand unit, told The Quint.
“This is never done by members of the Hindu community, but non-Hindus. This is why we had to take this step to save our religion. If any ‘non-Hindu’ enters these temples, they will be thrashed and handed over to the police,” added Wadhwa.
The Dasna Devi temple in Ghaziabad carries this sign on its gate: “Ye mandir Hinduon ka pavitra sthal hai, yahan Musalmanon ka pravesh varjit hai (This temple is a holy place for Hindus, Muslims’ entry is forbidden),” by order of its head priest. The 14-year-old boy had entered the temple to drink water and was brutally beaten. “We are treated like untouchables by the priest and his disciples. Drinking water is also a crime now. My son isn’t the first one who has got thrashed by them,” the boy’s father alleged, according to The Print.
Uttarakhand is not the only city with such prohibitions being put in place. After the Dasna Devi temple incident, various Hindu organizations have hardened their stance and taken to installing more placards, banners, and boards outside various shrines and temples, barring the entry of non-Hindus on the premises. Several temples in areas around U.P. and Uttarakhand have put up boards that read “Only Hindus are allowed in the temple,” The Wire reports.
Right-wing Hindu organizations have previously come forward in support of members who face a range of charges, from violence to rape, against non-Hindu communities. Last year, Bajrang Dal, Karni Sena, and a local BJP leader were among those who supported the Thakurs accused in the Hathras gang rape-assault case.