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200 Booked in Kerala After Girls Seen Carrying Swords During Durga Vahini Rally

The complaint was lodged by the Popular Front of India, and those charged were booked under the Arms Act.

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Around 200 persons were booked on Monday, 30 May, in connection with a rally organised by the Durga Vahini, the women's wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), in Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram, during which swords were allegedly brandished by girls.

The procession was undertaken on 22 May in Thiruvananthapuram's Neyyattinkara.

In a video of the procession, which has gone viral, three girls in the front are seen carrying swords, and they are followed by several girls carrying long sticks.

The complaint registered by the Popular Front of India (PFI) stated that the brandishing of swords sent a wrong message and invoked enmity between different communities, The News Minute reported.

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Case Registered Under Arms Act

The case was registered under the Arms Act as well as Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 144 (joining unlawful assembly with weapon), 147 (rioting), 149 (if an offence is committed by any member of an unlawful assembly, every other member of such assembly shall be guilty of the offence), and 153 (provoking with intent to cause riot), The Indian Express quoted a police official as saying.

VHP Slams PFI, Calls Charges 'False'

However, the VHP has said that the charges levelled against its women's wing are false.

As per a press note, the VHP said that the procession was a "Pathasanjalanam" (route march), and the participants were representing Goddess Durga, but with fake swords.

The right-wing group also alleged that the case was lodged to equalise the "hate sloganeering" incident during a programme organised by the PFI on 21 May in Alappuzha.

"Durga Vahini had been conducting programs inside and outside the country for many decades. This case was registered so that Pinarayi Vijayan could appease voters belonging to the minority community," said the VHP's statement, as per The News Minute.

It further added that the VHP would continue to organise marches against "love jihad" and "anti-nationals."
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The group also alleged that the state government was encouraging groups that had links with the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

As per the website of the VHP, the Durga Vahini recruits girls and women from the ages of 15 to 35.

(With inputs from The News Minute and The Indian Express.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Kerala   Sword   Thiruvananthapuram 

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