HYDERABAD: Luck has many definitions. And, this Valentine’s Day on Tuesday, some couples were indeed “lucky” to have beaten the rampaging Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal activists in a cat and mouse game that unfolded from dawn to dusk. Nine couples, though, were “lucky” to have been “caught” and “married”. Nine other couples were “caught” but were “lucky” enough to have got a reprieve. The VHP’s youth wing “counselled” and sent them home.
Thus passed Valentine’s Day in the twin cities “peacefully” without any Ram Sena type incidents! At least, thanks to the police bandobust, the overzealous saffron brigade did not get physical.
The VHP claimed that three couples were “married” in Moinabad. The first of the lovebirds were caught at a park whereas the others were caught at a bus-stop near Swami Narayan Gurukul. Five couples who ventured to the Sanghi temple were forced to tie the knot there itself. Similarly, a couple were married at Amberpet. The Bajrang Dal activists got into the act right from the word go in the morning. They divided themselves into eight batches of 35 members each and spread across the city. Dharnas were staged at the Paradise Circle, ECIL X Roads and Shamshabad X Roads.
About 45 volunteers, consisting of eight state level leaders, were arrested by the police. Among those arrested were MN Singh, state joint secretary, VHP, Yemen Singh, state secretary, Bajrang Dal, Shyam, convenor Bajrang Dal, Hindinagar, Narender, co-convenor, Hindinagar and covenors Brahman and Brijanand, according to Bharat Vamshi, convener, Greater Hyderabad, Bajrang Dal.
The police, on their part, denied that the saffron brigade had a field day. Tarun Joshi, DCP, Central Zone said, “We haven’t had any complaints of harassment or any such thing in the central zone. We have our teams deployed at various educational institutions, gift stores, parks and other hang-out places on the Necklace Road like the Eat Street. Our groups have been patrolling the areas and no places have been shut down. No Bajrang Dal volunteers were arrested either.”
Earlier in the day, Bharat Vamshi appealed to the people to help them enforce the V-Day ban. “We are against the whole concept of V-Day as it is a foreign tradition. Indian youth are getting influenced by this. We are not opposing love, but opposing Valentine’s Day celebrations. All we are trying to do here is keeping the Indian tradition alive,” he explained at a press conference. He wondered, “Valentine’s Day is observed in memory of a saint called Valentine and that too after he died. If it is a death anniversary, how can it be a celebration?” On his outfit’s tryst with the police, he alleged, “we have been working on this for almost a week now. Police Commissioner AK Khan and his team have been harassing our volunteers and have arrested a few of them. The police also barged into our homes and threatened women in our families. If they want us to surrender, we will do it ourselves, they do not have to threaten anybody.”
He criticised the state government for encouraging corporate companies to destroy culture in the name of globalisation. “Pubs and bars are all into organising various events in the name of Valentine’s Day and people just get influenced,” he added. When asked about the whole deal of getting couples forcefully married, Vamshi replied, “We do not get them married that way. We talk to their parents, cousel them and then get them married. Two couples who got married last year have children now. They are living happily.”