Controversy over Hindu posters in Jamshedpur; VHP to distribute more
In Jharkhand's Jamshedpur, a huge controversy started after some fruit sellers put up posters declaring their shops as "Hindu ones". The posters were taken down by police after Chief Minister Hemant Soren took cognizance of the matter following complaints on social media. And now, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has said it will distribute more such posters, once the nationwide lockdown ends. Here's what happened.
Last week, pictures from local shops surfaced on social media. At least four shops in the city's Kadma area had installed banners reading "Fruit shop approved by VHP". The poster had images of Lord Shiva and Rama, but it caused a huge row. Some wondered why the right-wing organization was handing out "approvals" to the sellers. On Saturday, the posters were brought down.
However, police excesses were criticized and they were accused of being partial towards a particular community. Defending the action, Jamshedpur SSP Anup Birhtare said the sellers were only served a warning and told they shouldn't put such posters in the future that could spark social disharmony. He also reminded that the Disaster Management Act (2005) was imposed across the nation.
"It appears to be a conspiracy hatched with an intention to divide society on the lines of religion hence officer in charge of the concerned police station has ordered to remove the banners and served them notices not to repeat the act again," he added.
But VHP isn't happy with the posters being removed, hence, plans to bombard Jamshedpur with more of them. Janardhan Pandey, secretary of the Jamshedpur unit of VHP, said after the lockdown ends, the outfit will distribute more such banners for shops in Kadma, Sakchi, and Bistupur. Not only "Hindu shop" banners, but the outfit will also give photos of Hindu Lords to the sellers.
Pandey also blamed Islamic sect Tablighi Jamaat for the spike in COVID-19 cases in India. He also went as far as saying that the banners will help customers buy essential items "fearlessly". Falling short of commenting on police action, he said, "It's a fact that there are several establishments in the city that are run by Muslim proprietors and their shops are easily identifiable."
After the controversy erupted, former Chief Minister Raghubar Das visited one shop. "We have assured them of all possible help. Also talked to the police officers and there will not be any case on the fruit vendors," Das, a leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, tweeted after the meeting. He also criticized his successor, Soren, for indulging in appeasement politics.
Naturally, Soren's government didn't keep quiet either. Congress, which has an alliance with JMM, accused BJP and VHP of dividing the country on religious lines. After sparking unrest, BJP wants to blame the state government, said Vijay Khan, Congress District President. He said Das showed his desperation to return to the center stage of politics by meeting fruit sellers in Kadma.