No yatra was allowed on the usual route from Rajiv Chowk in Gurgaon to the Radha Krishna temple in Nuh.
Police pickets were set up every few km and all markets were shut. Roads in the district were deserted and even journalists were allowed into the main town in small groups. The bandobast shut out all outsiders. Some of the main organisers were put under “house arrest”.
Police, however, allowed a few Nuh residents, a group of seers and the VHP international president to perform jalabhishek at the Nalhar temple on the last Monday of the Shravan month.
The latest call for the yatra had renewed tension in south Haryana, especially after violence that started with the July 31 riots in Nuh and spread to Gurgaon and other nearby districts over the next few days. The Nuh administration denied permission for the yatra that was called on Monday, suspended internet and SMS services and enforced prohibitory orders under Section 144. Duty magistrates were assigned the responsibility of managing security in certain pockets.
‘No permission for VHP’s Jalabhishek Yatra in Nuh’: Here is what top district officials are saying
Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar had also urged residents not to participate in the yatra and instead offer holy water at temples near home.
The police bandobast on Monday showed the plan was followed to the T. Vehicles, even government ones, coming out of Nuh or entering the district were checked and occupants were asked to make entries. Journalists were stopped at the border and allowed inside in small groups.
Haryana: Security tightened in Nuh ahead of VHP’s yatra, cops use drones for surveillance
In Gurgaon and Palwal, key members of outfits who had pledged to bring out the yatra said they were put under house arrest through Sunday and Monday.
Among them were Anurag Kulshresth, the media coordinator for VHP in Haryana. “I wasn’t allowed to leave my house in New Palam Vihar since Sunday evening. Some members were also called for questioning at Bajghera police station on Monday morning. Cops in plainclothes took me to the police station. After much pleading, they allowed me to leave,” he said, adding that VHP was planning to file a PIL in court.
Munish Bhardwaj, general secretary of Rashtriya Bajrang and Antar Rashtriya Hindu Parishad, also claimed being put under house arrest in Palwal.
VHP condemned the police’s move. “We strongly oppose the police’s decision to put our members under house arrest. We will hold a meeting in Delhi on this,” said Vinod Bansal, the national spokesperson for VHP. A senior police officer in Gurgaon said the house arrests were “part of preventive measures”.
Alok Jain, the international working president of VHP, was among a group of 10 that was allowed inside the Nalhar temple to offer water. He told TOI the yatra was intentionally kept low-key because of the G20 summit two weeks from now, adding they would bring out a “massive procession” later. Mahamandaleshwar Krishnanand, a seer who carried water from the Gangotri, said the yatra was an annual ritual — this being the third year. Hazrat Ali of Palwal, who was taking his 10-year-old daughter to Nalhar Medical College for treatment, was stopped at the Sohna-Nuh border. “I knew about the restrictions, but never imagined it would be a curfew-like situation. My daughter was in pain all this while. We were taking her to Nalhar for a follow-up. She had been undergoing treatment there for the past three months,” said Hazrat, who had to walk back after waiting for a few hours.