Amid the 'Azaan' and loudspeaker controversy, a row over organising 'Devi Jagaran' has surfaced in Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh.
The matter came to the fore when an audio conversation between a local BJP leader in Meerut and the station house officer (SHO) went viral on social media.
Soon after, a video of BJP MLA candidate Kamal Dutt Sharma having a verbal duel with the same SHO over organising a jagaran began doing rounds on social media.
Taking cognisance of the incident, Vineet Bhatnagar, Meerut SP (City), in a statement said," The stand of local authorities is clear. Permission is not granted to any event which is non-traditional or can adversely affect the law and order. Anyone trying to take law and order in their hands will be strictly dealt with."
Contents of the Audio
A local from Hashimpur area in Meerut had applied for permission to host a jagaran in the area on 2 May. Hashimpur is a mixed population locality and is considered to be a sensitive area after it was hit by massive communal riots in 1987.
The permission to hold a jagaran on 2 May, a day before Eid, was denied by the local authorities following which BJP leaders in the area tried to corner the local SHO Ramesh Chandra Sharma, who refused to concede.
In the viral audio conversation between local BJP leader Deepak Sharma and Ramesh Chandra Sharma, the SHO at Civil Lines police station in Meerut, the latter can be heard telling the BJP leader that jagaran can't be allowed without prior permission.
A rather agitated Sharma, ignoring the SHO's argument over permission, and law and order issue in a mixed population area, went on to challenge the SHO and asserted that the jagaran will be held on the said date with or without permission.
"Do everything in your power to stop it, but the jagaran will be organised on the same date," Sharma can be heard challenging the SHO in the purported audio conversation that surfaced on 26 April.
Later, a similar confrontation took place between former BJP MLA candidate Kamal Dutt Sharma and the SHO, who could be seen in a viral video insisting on not allowing the jagaran without prior permission.
Who is Kamal Dutt Sharma?
A controversial BJP leader, Kamal Dutt Sharma is considered to be a Hindutva hardliner. He was the BJP candidate for the city seat in the 2022 Assembly elections and lost to Rafiq Ansari from the Samajwadi Party.
Sharma, in the past, has been at the forefront of several controversies involving the two communities. There are several cases registered against him but he has so far evaded strict action from the police.