‘Mischievousness’: VHP defends Bajrang Dal over weapons training video

Updated on May 26, 2016 12:10 PM IST

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) defended on Thursday a right-wing affiliate’s weapons training programme as routine exercise and dismissed outrage over a controversial video as “roguish mischievousness”.

The organisation has hired trainers of judo, karate, nunchaku, stick and sword fighting for training the participants in the camp.(File photo)
The organisation has hired trainers of judo, karate, nunchaku, stick and sword fighting for training the participants in the camp.(File photo)
Hindustan Times | ByHT Correspondent, New Delhi

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) defended on Thursday a right-wing affiliate’s weapons training programme as routine exercise and dismissed outrage over a controversial video as “roguish mischievousness”.

The VHP defence came a day after a Bajrang Dal leader was arrested in Lucknow over a training video which purportedly showed activists training at a ‘self-defence camp’ in Ayodhya, taking on volunteers dressed as terrorists in robes and skull caps.

The video sparked outrage on social media for allegedly reinforcing Islamophobia by affiliates of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, considered the ideological fountainhead of the ruling BJP at the Centre. The Bajrang Dal is the VHP’s youth wing.

UP’s ruling party Samajwadi Party alleged that the training camp was aimed at creating polarisation ahead of assembly polls in the state next year.

“This is an attempt to jeopardise Hindu-Muslim camaraderie and disparage the entire Muslim community by branding them as terrorists,” VHP joint secretary Surendra Jain said.

Read: Bajrang Dal organises self-defence camp in Noida against ‘extremist attack’

He said training camps have been held for the last 25 years and attempts to portray this as a conspiracy hatched by the Central government or link it to the state elections was aimed polarising the society.

“The kind of training provided at these camps is perfectly within the ambit of the law. Thousands of akhadas (branches) all over the country impart the same kind of training and all this is done publicly and nothing is ever under wraps,” Jain said.

Responding to a pointed question on why “terrorists” were made to wear skull caps, he said the outfits and robes were inspired from what is shown in the media.

“The videos released by ISIS have been showing (Osama bin) Laden, Yakub and (Abu Bakr al) Baghdadi in a particular kind of attire which has become a standard symbol of terrorist attire. Therefore, it is these terrorist organisations which should take the blame for the generalisation of this attire; there is no way the blame for this can be laid at the doorstep of the Bajrang Dal which was only following a media pattern,” Jain said.

He cited the example of Punjab and said people of the state had contributed to countering terrorism.

“We all know that the countries or states that have successfully countered terrorism have been able to do it only with the cooperation of the society. Punjab is a glowing example of this where terrorism was completely eliminated with the help of the people of the state,” Jain said.

He added, no country in the world has borne the brunt of terrorism like India, therefore people and organisations that inspire people to fight terrorism should be “rewarded and not vilified.”

Get Latest India Newsalong with Latest Newsand Top Headlinesfrom India and around the world.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, December 08, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals