HYDERABAD: After burning Saint Valentine in effigy in LB Nagar in the city on Wednesday morning, Sajan Yadav (name changed), a BTech graduate from Delhi and a member of Bajrang Dal, said that he took part in the protest on Valentine’s day “just for fun.” Yadav is among the motley crew of youths who participated in the Vishwa Hindu Parishad youth wing’s protests on Wednesday. The young men, ranging in age from late teens to mid-30s, had gathered to protect “Indian culture”. What is Indian culture? According to them, it is to do with Ramayana, Mahabharatha and such. “We are not against any religion. You can celebrate love for 364 days but not on Valentine’s day because that is Western culture,” a member said.
However, motivations of the members vary. For some, being a member of Bajrang Dal requires a person to give up on romantic entanglements and partying. They are required to attend daily workouts, weekly poojas and monthly assemblies. Some like Yadav are not that involved. “I stay in Delhi for majority of the time and whenever I come to Hyderabad, I go to rallies and protests along with my brother and Valentine’ day is one of that,” he said after taking part in a rally in Somajiguda. “It’s not that we don’t chill, booze or have girlfriends. Through these protests, it’s a way out and we get to roam on the streets,” Sajan said.
Some of the younger participants — many of them intermediate students who had bunked school — seemed to be thrilled to be participating. One youth, however, visibly blanched when asked what he would do if he were arrested during one of the protests. Many members believed that it was alright to have girlfriends — a one true love — as long as sex was not involved. It was also alright to have friends who were girls. It was “dating” which, according to them involved sex, that they frowned upon. However, the leaders of Bajrang Dal claim they do not interfere in personal lives but only condemn those following western practices.
“Valentine’s day is one such practice and we condemn it. People can, personally, have their own private space and we do not intrude into it,” said Subash Chander, State Convenor, Bajrangdal. Drinking in public spaces is a strict no and so is the ‘party’ culture, it is against our ideals, he added. The organisation says it has some 80,000 members in the twin cities after a membership drive in November 2017.
Bid to vandalise shop for V-Day items
The KPHB police on Wednesday registered cases against unidentified persons for assembling at a shopping mall and trying to vandalise the premises. Police collected CCTV footage from Manjeera Shopping Mall and are scanning it to identify the miscreants. Police said that they
received a complaint on Twitter along with a video clip in which some unknown youngsters, said to be
Bajrang Dal members, squatting at Manjeera
Shopping Mall where a store was decorated for Valentine’s Day.