SC impact: No Dharm Sansad as peace prevails in Roorkee

Uttarakhand Police impose Section 144, thwarting any attempts to hold a ‘Dharma Sansad’ as threatened by right-wing groups

RoorkeeImage: National Herald

In what can be seen as an unprecedented and welcome move to ensure communal unrest is nipped in the bud, Uttarakhand Police ensured peace in Roorkee by thwarting any attempts to hold a ‘Dharma Sansad’ as threatened by right-wing groups. According to The Indian Express, over 30 people were put under preventive arrest.  Haridwar SSP Yogendra Singh Rawat told the publication, “Haridwar-based Anand Swaroop Maharaj and Sindhu Sagar Maharaj were among those detained.” Thus, another attempt at a gathering that in the past turned dangerously communal, and whose hate speeches continue to fuel anti-minority, particularly anti-Muslim hate across the country, was stopped.

The so called ‘mahapanchayat’ was planned to be held on Wednesday in Roorkee’s Dada Jalalpur village, where communal violence had erupted during Hanuman Jayanti procession on the night of April 16. When the procession crossed a mosque in Jalalpur village, there were reportedly objections raised against an offensive “song that was playing on a loudspeaker” with words like “Mulla Pakistani” played by procession members who were carrying swords and lathis, reportedly in the presence of DM, DIG and heavy police deployment. This reportedly led to clashes, stone pelting and destruction of public property. At least 10 people, including a police sub-inspector, were injured in the clash. An FIR was filed by the police naming 12 people and 40 unknown people. 

The Supreme Court had pulled up the Uttarakhand government on Wednesday for its failure to explain how it will prevent hate speeches from being made during the upcoming Dharam Sansad that had been called for in Roorkee. Holding the Chief Secretary of the state responsible for possible lapses, the SC bench headed by AM Khanwilkar and also comprising Abhay Srinivas Oka and CT Ravikumar further directed him to place on record the corrective measures to be taken by them in case the situation gets out of hand. 

On Tuesday, the Haridwar district administration issued prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC in place covering a 5 km area around the village. According to IE, five companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and over 250 police jawans were also deployed overnight. This along with the preventive arrests of the organisers, and Hindutva leaders ensured that peace prevailed in Dada Jalalpur, on Wednesday. According to news reports, schools and markets remained open, but Police teams manned “every entrance and exit” point of the area and “no outsider was allowed to enter the village without proper identification. At least four drones were deployed to keep a watch.”

Haridwar-based Anand Swaroop, one of the organisers, was put under house arrest at an ashram. Swaroop after arriving in Roorkee, he issued a video statement and complained, “Heavy police force is deployed outside the ashram and the way from here to there (Dada Jalalpur) has been turned into a chhavani (a military cantonment). I don’t know why the police and administration are so scared of us and why they are scared of Hindus… We never get involved in violence, we never spread terrorism. We respond to people in their own language.” According to Swaroop it was a matter of time that “this volcano will erupt, and when that happens, it will engulf everyone.” 



District Magistrate Vinay Shankar Pandey told the media that after the Supreme Court took cognisance of the mahapanchayat, Section 144 was imposed, adding that “no permission was sought from us.” Pandey added, “The organisers of the event have been demanding more arrests in the Hanuman Jayanti violence case. However, the law does not work like that. More arrests will be made based on what the investigating officer finds,” reported IE.



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