VHP, Bajrang Dal Labelled ‘Militant Religious’ Groups by CIA
The right-wing Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) have been labelled "militant religious organisations" in The World Factbook report published by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The report also mentions the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – considered the ideological mentor of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – which has been labelled as a "nationalist organisation".
This classification in the Factbook comes under the section ‘Political Pressure Groups and Leaders’, which provides a country-wise breakdown.
As the news of the labelling of these groups surfaced, the Bajrang Dal and the VHP voiced their opposition to it.
VHP spokesperson Vinod Bansal called the report fake, as he was quoted by CNN-News18 as saying:
Meanwhile, Prakash Sharma, who has been affiliated with the Bajrang Dal, asked the Centre to "take action against these organisations". "CIA should focus on their country instead of India," he told CNN-News18.
Along with the aforementioned groups, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (in the Kashmir valley) and the Jamiat Ulema-e Hind have also been named in the CIA Factbook. While the former has been classified as a “separatist group”, the latter has been labelled a “religious organisation” in the report.
Considered a reference resource with information regarding different countries, the CIA World Factbook "provides information on the history, people, government, economy, energy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities."
According to a report by The Times of India, the Factbook mentioning the RSS, the Bajrang Dal and the VHP, was prepared on 4 June.