Anticipating trouble from Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal activists in connection with Valentine’s Day, all major parks in twin cities remained shut on Thursday.
While police officers maintained that they did not issue any closure orders, GHMC officials said parks were closed down following instructions from the local police.
Indira Park, Sanjeevaiah Park and Lumbini Park were among the parks that remained shut. Instructions were reportedly issued following threats by right wing groups to counsel and even forcibly marry couples seen in parks and other public places.
DCP (Central) V.B. Kamalasan Reddy said: “We have not issued any instructions. The Municipal officials might have closed parks fearing trouble, but parks were opened by 1 p.m.” Police had also posted special pickets at other popular hangouts in twin cities to prevent untoward incidents.
Meanwhile, VHP and Bajrang Dal activists claimed that the number of “marriages” conducted by them every year on the Day had come down. Last year they had performed half a dozen marriages, they claimed. “This year, not many couples came out in the open. It is a good sign,” they said.
On the other end of the ideological spectrum, activists of the All India Students’ Federation (AISF) were detained for staging a demonstration at Indira Park demanding that police provide security to couples.
Another organisation, the Telangana Christian Associations Federation, also took strong objection to the “high-handedness” of VHP and Bajrang Dal activists and demanded that police book cases against them.