Officials said the internet shutdown, which came into force on Friday evening, would continue till August 29. The Nuh administration had suspended internet and SMS services after the July 31 clash, but had restored it on August 11.
The decision to bring out another yatra was taken at a panchayat in Palwal on August 6. Speakers at the panchayat had said that the procession – in its third year – would follow its usual route. It would start from Gurgaon, offer water at Nalhar temple and culminate at the Radha Krishna Mandir in Firozpur-Jhirka, covering a distance of 22-25km.
While the district administration has denied permission for the yatra, members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad – the prime organisers – have insisted they will bring out the procession in the month of Shravan, come what may.
“We don’t need any permission to hold a religious event. Every person has the freedom to take part in rituals in this country, irrespective of their religion. A majority of us are in favour of the yatra. We are not breaking any rules,” Surender Singh, a VHP member, told TOI.
Surendra Jain, the VHP general secretary, will hold a news conference on the proposed yatra in New Delhi around 3pm on Saturday.
Other members said they were planning several modifications to keep the procession low key. One of them was reducing the number of participants. “On July 31, we had permission to bring out the yatra with 25,000 participants. But, only about 15,000 could attend it. This time, we will scale down the numbers to no more than 1,000. We can’t confirm the exact figures as people might join us on the way,” a VHP member said.
Police sources said there were high chances that people from the neighbouring districts of Gurgaon, Palwal and Faridabad might join the procession if it came out. Right-wing outfits from Rajasthan, Punjab and even Odisha have expressed interest in the yatra, they said.
The members are, however, certain that the yatra would do no harm to the state’s “image” ahead of the G20 summit next month.
“Yes, we are aware of the summit next month. We will ensure that the state’s and country’s image is not tarnished with disruptions or clashes. We are pushing for this yatra because the previous one was incomplete. We will prevent any malicious element. There will be no loud religious chant or music. We will hold a peaceful event,” another VHP member said.
The internet shutdown, police said, was also because of a panchayat in neighbouring Alwar of Rajasthan on Saturday.
“There are rumours circulating on social media about the proposed yatra on August 28. We want to stop the misinformation from spreading. Internet services will remain suspended from Friday evening to Tuesday,” said Krishan Kumar, the Nuh police PRO.
Narendra Bijarniya, the district police chief, is still not certain if the yatra would be allowed or not. “As of now, the standing order is that the yatra will not be allowed on August 28. But things are fluid and can change any moment. We are not against the procession, but it would be prudent to hold it sometime later. There are many people who are still recovering from the trauma of the July 31 violence.”