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Communalism

Haridwar: Section 144 in Village to Restrict Hindu Mahapanchayat; 1 Organiser Arrested

In a video message, another organiser appeared to be threatening the administration if it did not allow the event to take place.

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New Delhi: After right-wing Hindu leaders announced a mahapanchayat in Dada Jalalpur village near Roorkee, the Haridwar district administration on Tuesday imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for five km around the village.

“Section 144 has been imposed in Dada Jalalpur and nearby 5 km area. All programs have been restricted. No permission was taken for this programme (Mahapanchayat). 33 people associated with this program have been bound down under CrPC 107/16,” Haridwar district magistrate V.S. Pandey said, according to ANI.

State convener of the Kali Sena, Swami Dineshanand Bharti, and six of his supporters who were preparing for the mahapanchayat despite the prohibitory orders were reportedly arrested.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Supreme Court had asked the administration to ensure no “untoward incident” is reported from the gathering – referring to anti-Muslim hate speeches made at other such events – and said that the chief secretary of Uttarakhand must place on the record that nothing of the sort will occur.

Swami Anand Swaroop, a Haridwar-based religious leader who has made anti-Muslim speeches in the past, claimed to the Indian Express that the event on Wednesday would be held regardless of the prohibitory orders. “He said he will be part of the mahapanchayat along with Dharam Sansad core committee members like Yatindranand Giri, Prabodhanand Saraswati, Parmanand ji Maharaj and others,” the newspaper reported.

In a video message, he also appeared to be threatening the administration: “If the administration stops us from holding the Mahapanchayat, then its result will not be good. Therefore, allow the Mahapanchayat to be held peacefully.”

The mahapanchayat was reportedly being organised to discuss recent violence and stone pelting in the village on Hanuman Jayanti. Several people were injured and at least four vehicles were set on fire during the violence. So far 14 people, all Muslims, have been arrested in connection with the violence.

At previous gatherings in various parts of north India where Hindu religious leaders have gathered,