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HVK Archives: Bajrang Dal begins training cap in weapons for its youth; and a comment

Bajrang Dal begins training cap in weapons for its youth; and a comment - The Times of India

Tilak Sharma ()
31 December 1996

Title : Bajrang Dal begins training camp in weapons for its youth
Author : Tilak Sharma
Publication : The Times of India
Date : December 31, 1996

The youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bairang Dal, has
started a week-long camp where training is being imparted to around 200
youths in weapons, including rifle and lathi (long stick).

They will also be trained in martial arts like judo and karate. Some
ex-servicemen have been engaged for the job. Before the camp concludes
on January 3, the participants ('instructors'in the dal parlance), will
also have to pass through a rigorous course of 32 obstacles, which
actually form part of the regular army training.

Besides, classes will be held to inculcate values of Hindu religion
among these youths, all-India general secretary of the dal Surendra
Kumarjain told this newspaper. In reply to a query, Mr Jain said the
basic idea was to raise a "committed Hindu force," which could counter
the activities of Pakistan's Inter-Service Agency (ISI) in this country.
The dal leader said these youths would be sent back to their respective
states to expand the chain up to 'block' level.

As a matter of strategy, the youths would be told to use offence as a
self-defence technique, if the situation so warranted, Mr Jain told this
correspondent. Senior VHP leaders Ashok Singhal, Acharya Giriraj
Kishore, Vinay Katiyar, Onkar Bhave and Sadanand Kangre would give
lectures on various aspects of the Hindu religion, he added.

Expressing concern over the expanding network of the ISI in this
country, Mr Jain quoted Rajesh Pilot, the then minister of state for
internal security, as having said that the ISI, some church leaders and
the drug mafia were in league, threatening to disrupt peace and progress
of the land. Mr Pilot said so at a press conference at Itanagar in July
1995, according to Mr Jain. "This will not be tolerated any longer," he
said.

On the rise of the Bajrang Dal as a formidable, socio-religious Hindu
organisation, Mr Jain said it had entered the third phase of its growth
and activity. "This aims at creating a countrywide chain of "shakti
kendras" (power-centres) at the block level."

The first phase, he said, was the Ramjanmabhumi agitation by which the
dal had made its presence felt among masses. "In the second phase, we
brought to the fore certain vital issues, including holding of Amarnath
yatra and cow protection. An example of overwhelming response of Hindus
was the Bajrang Dal rally at Prayag in last January, which was attended
by around 2.5 lakh people," he said.

When asked, the dal leader firmly said that Kashi and Mathura were on
top of our agenda. "We would not relent on these issues come what may.
We have already revived our agitation in Mathura to protest against the
heavy barricading around Krishna temple and securitymen entering the
premises wearing shoes. Besides, in some cases, the securitymen tried
to molest the visiting women. We held a demonstration there in
November," he said.

In reply to yet another query, Mrjain said the dal had its own agenda
and policies which were independent of the BJP policies.

If the BJP formed government in Uttar Pradesh and did anything to
frustrate the dal's plan on Kashi and Mathura, "We would resist it to
the hilt," he added.

He, however, said no time-frame had yet been set to launch an all-out
agitation on these issues.

___________________________________________

COMMENT:

The headline is designed to be mischievous. The image that the media
has created of the Bajrang Dal will bring an image of massive weaponary
in the minds of the reader. But the text says clearly that the weapons
are rifles (actually they are air rifles) and lathis.


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