The arms training camp of Bajrang Dal has triggered a war of words among political parties in Uttar Pradesh with Mayawati expressing concern over Governor Ram Naik's support to the "illegal exercise" and SP accusing BJP of whipping up communal frezy with an eye on state assembly polls.
BJP spokesperson Vijay Bahadur Pathak charged the Akhilesh Yadav government with "politicising the simple annual training camp" of the Bajrang Dal. "There is nothing wrong in organising such training camps," he said. In a statement Mayawati said, "The holding of arms training camps by Bajrang Dal is an illegal act and the UP government should immediately ban them besides initiating strong action against those organising them."
Her comments came after the right-wing organisation held a training camp on May 14 in Ayodhya where Bajrang Dal activists executed a mock drill of eliminating "rioters and terrorists" wearing skull caps and checkered scarves, traditionally worn by Muslims. The BSP chief said Naik's support to such camps was a matter of grave concern. "The governor needs to work as per the dignity and ethos of the Constitution in this matter...it is also to be seen that if all sections of society or the oppressed are allowed to give training in use of arms, what will be its impact on society and country," she asked.
Questioning the "inaction" on part of the Samajwadi Party government on such "communal, inflammatory and illegal act", Mayawati alleged that it goes on to prove that together with BJP they want to fan communal tempers and riots so as to gain political mileage in the 2017 Assembly elections. She also demanded alerting police, administration and the intelligence wings to ensure that such acts are not repeated.
Senior Samajwadi Party leader and party spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary accused BJP and the Sangh outfit of whipping up communal frenzy with an eye on the UP Assembly polls scheduled in 2017. "In the past as well, BJP has raised issues of love jihad and ghar wapsi besides Muzaffarpur riots to disturb communal harmony in the state," he said.
"Now, Bajrang Dal training camp in Ayodhya is part of a larger plan of BJP to polarise voters," he said. Senior Congress leader Akhilesh Singh demanded effective steps by the state government to ensure that such training camps are not held in the future.BJP MPs Vinay Katiyar and Yogi Adityanath slammed the state government for lodging an FIR against Bajrang Dal activists.
Ram Naik had defended the camp saying, "This arms training is for the purpose of self defence. There should not be any objection from any quarter. The intention behind this exercise is what counts." "Those who cannot defend themselves, cannot ultimately defend the country and there is nothing wrong if some youth are getting arms training purely for self defence," he said.
Though Bajrang Dal defended its action saying the training was imparted to generate nationalistic feeling among the youth, ruling Samajwadi party slammed the training sessions and termed it as a "terrorist training". "Such kind of mock drills can be conducted only by government agencies. Now organisations are conducting these in their own way, like we see ISIS, Hizbul Mujahideen and Naxals doing it. I see this as a terrorist training," SP spokesperson Syed Asim Waqar had said.
Photographs of Bajrang Dal cadres brandishing rifles, swords and even sticks in the camps had gone viral on social media and news channels.The annual 'self defence' camp of the right-wing outfit, which was organised in Ayodhya, is now scheduled to be held in Sultanpur, Gorakhpur, Pilibhit, Noida and Fatehpur, sources in Bajrang Dal, which is the youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), said.