The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal, and Rashtriya Sevika Samiti have jointly organized ‘mehendi camps’ at 11 locations in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, as part of their ongoing campaign to “protect” Hindu girls. The organizations are urging people not to allow Muslim men to apply henna on the hands of Hindu women during the Hindu festival of ‘Karwa Chauth.’
Describing these camps as part of a two-year-old campaign, Maheshwari, the VHP’s Prant Sah Gau Raksha Pramukh in Muzaffarnagar, said that some shopkeepers in the area hire Muslim henna artists, who, she claims, use the opportunity to approach Hindu girls and women under the pretext of offering their services at lower prices.
“Muslim boys hide their identities by wearing kalawas (sacred threads Hindus tie to their wrists) and exchange their phone numbers with Hindu girls. This was the first step of love jihad,” Maheshwari stated. She added that even the entry of Muslim girls into these camps has been banned.
However, Maheshwari could not provide specific instances to support these claims, stating, “Such things seldom come on record because girls don’t like to speak about it.”
District Magistrate Arvind Malappa Bangari, while acknowledging awareness of the ‘camps,’ refused to comment on the matter at this time. He said, “I have come to know about it and can comment on it only after gathering more information.”
Lalit Mohan, the West UP in-charge of Kranti Sena, said that the ‘camps’ began on Sunday and will continue until the celebration of Karwa Chauth on Tuesday. He mentioned that their initial efforts involved persuading shopkeepers not to hire Muslim henna artists, and now these camps are being organized to offer the service to people at their doorstep.
Amid this development, Maulana Nazar, the state vice-president of Jamiat-e-Ulema Hind, has denounced the boycott of Muslims, holding the VHP and other organizations responsible for spreading hatred in society. He said, “They are destroying the social fabric,” and added that such a program is in violation of the Constitution, which does not discriminate against anyone based on their religion and caste.