Valentine’s Day: How Right-Wing Groups Spoilt the Celebrations
Different groups in India see the occasion of Valentine’s Day as a threat to Indian culture. The Bajrang Dal, famous for holding protests and getting aggravated about the day of love, has continued its ritual to try and stop couples from celebrating Valentine’s Day this year as well. This time, it is asking restaurants and pubs in Hyderabad not to hold any special events for the occasion. Similarly, other Hindu outfits like the Hindu Mahasabha and Shiv Sena, among others, have their own plans of trying to stop couples in the country from celebrating Valentine’s Day, in order to “save” Indian culture.
Bajrang Dal stormed into Manjeera Mall in Hyderabad on Wednesday, 14 February and vandalised decorations, besides intimidating couples present in the complex, reported The News Minute.
Members of the Bajrang Dal came out again to show their opposition to Valentine's Day. This year, they approached pubs and restaurants in Hyderabad, warning them against holding any special programs for Valentine's Day.
“Despite our strict vigilance at parks and malls, this incident took place. It should have been avoided. We will file the case and take the culprits to task, ” Cyberabad Deputy Commissioner, (Madhapur Zone) Vishwa Prasad, told The News Minute.
They even staged protests seeking a ban on Valentine's Day in the city on Wednesday, 14 February.
According to an India Today report, members of the Bajrang Dal visited pubs and restaurants in Hyderabad's Banjara and Jubilee hills to warn them not to go against 'Indian culture'.
At the same time, Hyderabad Police tightened security in the city on 14 February in order to maintain law and order, the India Today report added.
Hyderabad Bajrang Dal's in-charge, Vishal Prasad, was quoted by Deccan Chronicle as saying:
Police inspector for Jubilee Hills, P Chandra Shekhar, had told Deccan Chronicle that the police had 23 teams set up in the Jubilee Hills region and said that they will make sure every pub is closed till midnight.
In another incident, members of the group harassed couples in Ahmedabad's Sabarmati riverfront this year.
Last year, Bajrang Dal members in Muzaffarnagar had thrashed couples for celebrating Valentine's day.
Lucknow University Closes to Stop Couples from Celebrating Valentine’s Day
Lucknow University has issued a circular warning students against roaming in the college campus on 14 February. The circular said that strict disciplinary action will be taken against students caught disobeying the circular.
Over the past few years, it has been witnessed that under the influence of Western culture, youth are celebrating 14 February as Valentine’s Day. All students are hereby informed that on 14.2.2018, the university will remain closed on the occasion of Maha Shivratri.Lucknow University Circular (Translated from Hindi)
The circular, dated 10 February 2018, said that the university will be closed on 14 February on the occasion of Maha Shivratri and that no cultural programs or classes will take place during the day.
However, people showed mixed reactions to the university's decision to not open on the day to 'prevent' students from mingling and socialising within University premises.
The University has shown displeasure against Valentine's Day in the past as well. In 2009, the University had banned students from bringing flowers, bouquets and gifts on campus for Valentine's Day. The reason stated at the time was to prevent any misbehaviour against girls.
In 2014 also they had issued do's and dont's for students ahead of that year's Valentine's Day.
Shiv Sena’s ‘Lathi Pooja’
The Shiv Sena took a more violent approach to show their discontent towards Valentine's Day. Memebers of the party in Muzaffarnagar did a 'Lathi Puja' on Sunday and said that sticks can be used to 'teach a lesson' to couples indulging in public display of affection, the Times of India reported.
Members of the party including some senior leaders held a reitual at the Shiv Sena office in Prakash Chowk of Muzaffarnagar and said that they will go on the streets to stop Valentine's Day Celebrations in public places.
Our workers will visit restaurants and hotels and conduct checks. We have also warned owners of such establishments not to organize Valentine’s Day events. There could be a risk of property damage, for which the owners themselves will be responsible.Lalit Mohan Sharma, Shiv Sena Deputy Head, UP as quoted by Times of India.
A member of the Shiv Sena, Lokesh Saini, however, thinks that Valentine's Day celebration leads to increased chances of Love Jihad. “Celebration of Valentine’s Day increases the occurrence of love jihad. This is not our culture. Our people will be deployed in parks and schools. If we find someone in an objectionable position, we will teach him a lesson,” he was quoted by Times of India.
The Muzaffarnagar SP told the Times of India that anybody is free to celebrate any event in a hotel or restaurant as per our Constitution and if someone feels unsafe or threatened they can come to the police anytime.
Hindu Mahasabha’s Love Jihad Fear
The Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha, like Mr Saini of Shiv Sena (quoted above) is also of the view that Valentine's Day increases chances of "Love Jihad" and said that they will convert inter-religious couples to Hinduism on 14 February. The have even gone on to offer a package that includes “quick and easy” marriage according to Hindu rituals, The Hindu reported.
As per the Hindu report, their national general secretary Munna Kumar Sharma said that if any of the couple belongs to a religion other than Hinduism, Mahasabha volunteers will hold a “ghar wapsi” and perform their marriage as per the Hindu ritual. He said that this strategy can be used as a weapon against Love Jihad.
The Mahasabha has reportedly recruited 200 members for this dubious purpose and will focus on the national Capital and western Uttar Pradesh.
Sharma further clarified that the volunteers will not force the couples to convert and would just “convince” them instead.
(Source: The Hindu)
Tamil Outfits’ Fight Against Valentine’s Day
Sakthi Sena Hindu Makkal Iyakkam and the Bharat Sena, two Tamil Hindu outfits, have requested the authorities to crack down on couples celebrating Valentine's Day at Public Places, The Hindu reported.
The Sakhti Sena Hindu Makkal Iyakkam even staged a protest outside the Coimbatore south Taluk Office where they raised slogans against celebrating Valentine's Day.
Members of the Tamil Nadu unit of the Bharat Sena also protested outside the Collectorate for the same reason. The protests was followed by a petition to the Collector by the group members.
Bharat Hindu Front workers even went so far as to get a dog and a donkey married in protest against Valentine's Day in Chennai.