A letter was sent to different garba organisers on Raja Singh's behalf that urged them to safeguard Hindu girls from perceived threats like Love Jihad.
In keeping with his penchant for setting a divisive agenda, suspended BJP leader and MLA from the Goshamahal constituency, Raja Singh, has warned organisers of Navaratri garba events in Hyderabad against permitting non-Hindus into their venues.
The events are slated to begin from Sunday, 15 October.
In a letter sent on his behalf, he has asked event organisers in the Goshamahal constituency limits to be alert and prevent the entry of people who indulge in so-called “Love Jihad”, although he did not name any particular community.
The subject line of Raja Singh’s letter stated: “Requesting not to make entry of Non-Hindus at your Dandiya Nights event.”
Along similar lines, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) Hyderabad president (in-charge) Laddu Yadav, who is also a “Gau Rakshak”, took to X on Friday, 13 October, to say that the participants on dandiya nights should only be from the Hindu community.
“I am making a video for the dandiya organisers to warn that they should not allow non-Hindus. These men exploit the situation and manipulate the women for relationships. The process should be from putting tilak to checking the participant’s Aadhaar cards. This is a warning. If our team goes for round-ups and they find other religious men, then we will drag them outside and book cases. Those who do not perform pooja for goddesses should not enter the event,” he said.
My Warning to Garba / Dandiya Organisers of Bhagyanagar – #Hyderabad.
We have received extensive information that… pic.twitter.com/nZ1eWYcQQQ
— Laddu Yadav 🇮🇳 (@LadduYadavBJP) October 12, 2023
“We have received extensive information that cases of ‘Love Jihad’ and religious conversion come to the fore at this time. #Hindu women are lied to and lured. People who do not belong to our community or worship our god come to such events wearing saffron and other attires and call themselves Hindus,” he wrote in his post.
The letter sent to more than 10 different garba organisers on MLA Raja Singh’s behalf urged them to safeguard Hindu girls from perceived threats like “Love Jihad” and to restrict entry into garba venues to Hindus.
Non-Hindus, regardless of their roles, such as bouncers, security guards, DJ players, catering staff, musicians, or lighting personnel, should not be permitted access to the garba pandals, they were informed.
“A lot of Love Jihad cases can be seen every day and a huge rise of such Love jihad cases starts from interaction at dandiya events. Navratri Dandiya is a cultural festival of the Hindu religion where we pray to Goddess Durga,” stated the letter.
“I urge the organisers to ensure that a tilak is kept on the forehead of everyone who enters the event at the entrance, by the organisers’ team. Check the Aadhaar card of the people who are entering the event. Do not allow people of other communities who are involved in Love Jihad. Make sure that the bouncers belong to the Hindu community only. Our motto is just to save Hindu sisters from love jihad cases.”
The letter also added that a team of 100 Hindu karyakartas (workers) would be deployed at the events and if any entry (of “Love Jihadis”) is noticed, they would take necessary steps to prevent it.
“So, I kindly request you to take care that only Hindus are allowed in your event so that it will turn into a great event for you as well. I wish a great success in your event,” the letter said.
The letter has elicited sharp reactions from civil society, with questions being raised about the narrative being set by leaders like Raja Singh.
“Is there a legal position to such statements,” asked advocate B Karthik Navayan when contacted by South First.
“Community celebrations should not discriminate between religions. The decoration of Goddess Durga pandal is done by Muslims, Christians, and Dalits. Who knows about the person’s religion unless they ask? So, if Raja Singh has cases and evidence (about the so-called ‘Love Jihad’), then he should approach the government. He does not have the authority to issue such notices to anybody,” Navayan added.
Aamir, a software engineer at a private company, told South First, “I am invited every year to the occasion, just I invite people to our Eid festival. These are cultural exchanges. There should not be any restriction. We can also book criminal cases if organisers do not allow us inside the celebrations.”
In August 2022, Goshamahal MLA Raja Singh passed derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad in response to the state government allowing comedian Munawar Faruqui to hold a show in Hyderabad.
The BJP suspended him hours after his arrest in Hyderabad, especially as a similar statement by BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma a few months earlier — in May 2022 — had caused a diplomatic kerfuffle when several Muslim nations objected to her comments.
Raja Singh was released in November 2022 after the Telangana High Court set aside his arrest under provisions of the Preventive Detention (PD) Act.
Since then, Raja Singh has stayed away from party activities — and Hyderabad, where the court and the local police have prohibited him from making communally-sensitive speeches.
He only took part in the Sri Rama Navami Shobha Yatra procession organised from Dhoolpet to Hanuman Vyayamshala in Sultan Bazaar on 30 March.
He has, however, been active addressing rallies, mainly in neighbouring Maharashra, and making incendiary speeches targeting the minority communities.