in The ongoing tension in an area of Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand Posters threatening Muslim traders to close their shops were seen outside several shops run by members of the minority community in the early hours of Monday, following protests over an alleged runaway bid involving a Muslim man and a young girl.
The posters, which threatened “love jihadists” with dire consequences if they did not vacate their shops, were removed within an hour or two and the police registered a suo motu FIR against unidentified persons. Police said they do not know who put up the posters.
Tensions flared in the area on May 27, a day when two men, including a minor, were caught by some people. One in two is Muslim, with residents alleging it was a case of ‘love jihad’. While the girl was sent back home, the men were arrested under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act. They are currently in judicial custody.
“Someone must have put up these posters late on Sunday night. There are about 30-35 shops owned by Muslims in this area and these posters were outside all those shops. When we saw the posters and informed the local police, they immediately removed these posters. The posters must have been put up by locals because only they know which shops are Muslim. The situation here is tense and none of those who have left the city are planning to return to such a situation,” said a shop owner from the Muslim community, who also had a poster outside his shop.
The poster in Hindi was printed on a white A4 size paper. “Love jihadis have been informed that they have to vacate their shops before the Mahapanchayat, on June 15. If you don’t do it, it (results) will depend on time,” read the poster, claiming to be part of the ‘Devbhoomi Raksha Abhiyan’.
“We have registered an FIR against unidentified persons under Sections 153 A (promoting enmity between groups based on religion, caste, place of birth, residence, language etc. and doing acts prejudicial to harmony), 505 (provision of statement). for causing public mischief) and 506 of the IPC (criminal intimidation). I myself am the complainant in the FIR. It appears to be a mischief by someone as no Mahapanchayat has been planned anywhere in the area,” said the station officer (SO) of the jurisdictional police station.
Uttarkashi Superintendent of Police Arpan Jaduvanshi said the police force is on alert and night patrolling has been increased in the area.
Commenting on the unrest in Uttarkashi, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said authorities are working to ensure peace in the district. He said that Uttarakhand is a peaceful state and disturbance of law and order will not be tolerated. “Whether it is love jihad or land jihad, we are working hard against it. Uttarakhand is a very peaceful state. Law and order situation is good here. Here we all live together and love each other. But if anyone violates law and order or does such things, we will not tolerate it,” he told the media.