Bajrang Dal Issues Warning That If “Hindus Visiting Church will be Beaten”
A leader of the right-wing Bajrang Dal declared that those Hindus who visit churches to take part in Christmas celebrations will be ‘beaten’. The speech given at an event at Silchar in Assam’s Cachar district has been widely circulated in a video where Mithu Nath is seen giving the speech.
Nath, the General Secretary of the district unit of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (the Bajrang Dal’s parent body) says he is “outraged” by the alleged shut down of the Vivekananda Centre in Christian-majority Meghalaya state capital Shillong, a report in the NDTV said.
The Bajrang dal leaders said that Hindus would “not be allowed” to attend Christmas Day programmes and festivities.
“The Hindus (who visit churches) will be beaten because I revile those Hindus who would go and have fun at a Christian function after they shut down our places of worship. No Hindu will go to church this Christmas. We will make sure of it,” Nath reportedly said in the video.
“If we do so (assault Hindus) I know the headlines in newspapers the next day – “Gunda Dal” has vandalised Oriental school.. but that is not our priority. We will not allow Hindus in programmes during Christmas when they are locking gates of temples in Shillong,” he reportedly said.
He further said that the Hindutva group takes pride in being called “Gunda” [goons]. “The press calls us Gunda Gang,” Nath said. “If our Hindu girls are touched and harassed we will become gundas and we are proud of it.”
Addressing a crowd, Mithu Nath said that that the Khasi student union had shut down a temple. However, a report said that the claim was refuted by a top official of the Meghalaya government. The official reportedly said that the cultural centre has been closed (not locked) because of a district holiday. The official added that no temple of the Ramakrishna Mission had been shut.
The right-wing leader also hit out against “love jihad” and declared that the Bajrang Dal would accept criticism to protect “our mothers and daughters”.
Although “love jihad” is a term not recognised by the centre, several BJP-ruled states have stoked fear on this issue in recent weeks, with Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma among those to speak on the subject ahead of Assembly elections due next year.
“Do what you need to protect our religion but within the ambit of the law. Don’t take law and order into your hand (but) do what you need to protect our religion. We are the last hope,” he claimed.