The Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s controversial youth wing, the Bajrang Dal, has warned the government that it will have to pay a heavy price if the proposed ban on the organisation is implemented.
Claiming that the Student’s Islamic Movement of India, accused of carrying out several terror attacks in the country, was behind the demand for the ban, the Bajrang Dal national convenor Prakash Sharma said, “If there is a ban, the government will face the music during the polls.”
A 46-year-old lawyer from Kanpur, Sharma denies any role in the recent anti-Christian violence in Orissa’s Kandhamal district, claiming that the organisation did not even have a unit there. He said the violence was a spontaneous tribal uprising against ‘large-scale conversions’ by Christian missionaries.
The Dal has been accused of taking the lead in the anti-Christians riots in Kandhamal and attacks on churches in Karnataka. Formed in 1984 to protect the Ram-Janaki Rath Yatra against ‘Muslim threats’, the Bajrang Dal sees itself as committed to protecting Hindu symbols.
VHP secretary and former Bajrang Dal convener Surendra Kumar Jain claimed that protection is provided through constitutional methods like ‘public awakening’. He, however, adds that Bajrang Dal cadres, “as responsible citizens,”
will stop any unlawful activities rather than hoping for state’s intervention.
“Veer Savarkar's Hindutva is our ideological goal. Hindutva is not about a form of worship. It’s a political term. Everyone who considers India his Pitribhumi (fatherland) and Punyabhumi (holy land) is a Hindu and Indian-ness is the same as Hindutva,” said Jain.
Thus, the organisation sees all India-born religions – Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism – as branches of Hinduism and considers ‘foreign-born’ Islam and Christianity to be outside the ambit of Hindutva.