The Faizabad district police registered a first information report (FIR) against unidentified participants in a Bajrang Dal ‘self-defence’ camp on charges of promoting enmity between different groups and performing acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony.
The Bajrang Dal’s district convenor Mahesh Sharma was taken into custody for questioning late Wednesday night.
The saffron outfit organised a camp in Ayodhya earlier this month where volunteers purportedly brandished rifles, swords and sticks. The FIR was registered against 50 activists under Section 153 A of the Indian Penal Code at the Ayodhya Kotwali police station on Tuesday evening.
The police move comes on the heels of Uttar Pradesh governor Ram Naik having virtually defended the self-defence camp.
“This arms training is for the purpose of self-defence. There should not be any objection from any quarter. The intention behind this exercise is what counts,” Naik had said in Aligarh.
When contacted by HT on Wednesday for his comments on the FIR, Naik said that he had already made his views on the issue known.
The Bajrang Dal held the week-long national camp at Karsevakpuram in Ayodhya. Photographs of the saffron cadre brandishing rifles, swords and lathis in the camps in some Bajrang Dal-managed schools had gone viral on social media and news channels.
Sub-inspector of Naya Ghat police station, Shriniwas Pandey, filed an application at the police station, stating that a demonstration staged during the Bajrang Dal training camp from May 8-15 contained ‘objectionable scenes’, which might promote enmity between different groups. The application also said that the Bajrang Dal camp was organised to impart arms training to its workers. The Bajrang Dal has sought legal opinion on the FIR filed by the district police.
The right wing organisation organised a similar training camp at Saraswati Shishu Mandir in Sector 12, Noida. A later in the month. The spokesperson of the group claimed that over 300 participants were undergoing training to handle situations like “attacks by extremist groups”.