Uttar Pradesh police today kept strict vigil across the state to ensure Christmas festivities passed off peacefully in the wake of the Hindu Jagran Manch warning against celebrating the festival, officials said. All SPs were put on maximum alert in the districts after the Manch, an RSS-affiliate, recently issued a circular threatening all Aligarh schools against celebrating Christmas saying, they would be doing it “at their own risk”. No untoward incident was reported from any school or church till late evening and that traditional festivities passed off peacefully in Aligarh, Senior Superintendent of Police (Aligarh) Rajesh Pandey said. In Lucknow, the day was celebrated with usual pomp and fanfare at the St Joseph’s Cathedral with nearby markets decorated with balloons and Christmas trees.
There were grand celebrations at the All Saints Cathedral in Allahabad, the Basilica of Our Lady of Graces in Meerut, the Christ church in Bareilly and the St Mary’s church in Varanasi, which were decorated tastefully for the occasion. Additional Director General (Law and Order) Anand Kumar had directed all district police chiefs to ensure that the freedom of practising one’s religion is protected and appropriate action taken to that end.
The Manch was in the news last month when it announced its decision to launch a “reverse Love Jihad” by setting a target of 2,100 Muslim brides for Hindu boys in the next six months under a campaign called “beti bachao, bahu lao”. Last year, the right-wing group launched its “anti-love jihad” and “save Hindu girl” campaign in Uttar Pradesh, where they planned to hold classes in all schools run by its parent organisation to “educate” youngsters about the “ill-effects” of marrying a Muslim.