NEW DELHI — The Hindutva organisations like Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad are known to offer arms training to their volunteers in the garb of ‘physical training’ and ‘self defence’. The move had raged controversy in the past also by different political parties and peace loving people.
Recently. according to The Hindu, an official of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in Varanasi has announced that along with kung fu training, “licensed” swords, knives and sticks will be distributed for free.
In a Facebook post, which has been deleted, Sanjay Hindu Sinha, who claims to be the VHP’s Kashi Mahanagar joint-general secretary, had said:
“Free of cost training of lathi (sticks) for 15-days, knives for one month, swords for one month and kung fu for three months, after which licence of swords with sticks and knives will be given for free. Training place is Bal Upasana Kendra located in Lohia Nagar, Ashapur. Limited seats, register today, membership fee, Rs 100.”
According to The Hindu, the training is being provided at Varanasi’s Bal Upasana Kendra, near Lohiyanagar, in Sarnath area and the Varanasi police is likely to initiate an inquiry into the matter.
According to report in a Hindi daily, the controvertial FB post that was posted on December 3 has been shared multiple times on social media.
VHP’s Kashi metropolitan president Kanhaiya Singh told Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar that Sinha made this announcement in his personal capacity, and the organisation or any workers have nothing to do with it.
Swords and blades over nine inches in length and which are not kitchen appliances require a licence under the Arms Act. Under the Arms Act, carrying weapons without a licence is punishable with a jail term and a fine.
In 2019, around 250 VHP functionaries, including the organisation’s local president, were booked for allegedly brandishing air guns and swords during a procession in Pune’s Pimpri Chinchwad area.
In 2018, Durga Vahini, the women’s wing of the VHP had organised a camp in Agra where women were trained how to fire a rifle and other weapons in the name of self-defence, reports The Wire.
In 2017, the Congress had alleged that arms training was being provided to the Bajrang Dal and VHP volunteers in Assam to “terrorise”, a national daily had reported. It had demanded action against those “practising this without a valid licence”.
West Bengal Mamata Banerjee had also hit out at the VHP for openly giving arms to its cadres, saying that right-wing groups had tried to do the same in Coochbehar district, but the state government didn’t allow such exercises, according to India Today report of 2017.