Pune: Over 200 Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) members, including several girls, have been booked for exhibiting rifles, fire arms and swords in a rally held in Pune on June 2. VHP and its women’s wing Durga Vahini held the rally without the required police permission. Apparently, the rally was organised to develop skills like courage and motherhood among girls.
Nigdi police station, which falls under the Pimpri Chinchwad Police Commissioner, has lodged an FIR against over 200 members of VHP, including its area chairman Dhanaji Shinde and Nitin Vatkar. Police has invoked section 4 (25) of the Indian Arms Act for carrying weapons without licence and 37(1) (3) and 135 of the Mumbai Police Act.
Satish Pawar, police inspector of Nigdi police station said, “Basically over 200-250 people including mostly girls, chairman of VHP and other members were in the Shobha Yatra, a rally held in Nigdi from 5 PM to 11 PM on June 2. Four girls in the rally had air rifles and which they fired in the air to replicate the sound of rifles being fired. Five girls were carrying swords without permission and they were raising slogans. Many girls were carrying sticks. Police has videos and photographs of the event. The rally ended at Thackerey Maidan at Yamunanagar in Nigdi Pune.”
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He said that police had refused permission to hold the rally but the VHP still carried out the rally. He said, “VHP Pune had given a letter to Nigdi police station that they had organised a Durga Vahini Shourya Prashikshan Shibir from May 27 to June 3 in Nigdi. The Shobha Yatra would be organised from June 2. But police officials had personally told Sharad Inamdar, district chairman of VHP, that the event should be postponed for two days as police were busy in VIP security and UPSC examination that was on Sunday. Besides, there are bastis of dalits and Muslims in the initial part of the proposed route that the VHP had submitted for the Shobha Yatra. Hence, police did not give permission saying there can be law and order problem at this part. However, they still went ahead with the rally.”
Durga Vahini Shobha Yatra
The VHP, Western Maharashtra Region, had organised a Durga Vahini (DV) Shourya Prashikshan Shibir (Courage Training Camp) on June 2 at Nigdi in Pimpri Chicnhwad area of Pune. As per the pamphlets distributed, the camp was organised to develop leadership and ‘motherly feelings’ among girls. The camp aimed to develop self confidence and skills among members of the DV. The pamphlets said participation in the event, being organised by VHP heads of this region- Vijay Deshpande, Revati Hanmasagar, mrunalini Padval, Dhanaji shinde, Sharad Inamdar, Nitin Vatkar and Bhakti Salvi, was free for all.
When NewsClick approached the VHP office in Pune to ask about the FIR lodged against the members, the office bearers said that nobody was present in the office.
In another similar incident, VHP’s youth wing Bajrang Dal has also been allegedly involved in giving gun training to school kids at a camp held at a school in Mira Bhayandar area which falls in Thane district. After an NGO lodged a complaint, Navghar Police are probing it. The school where this camp was held is owned by a Bharatiya Janata Party MLA.
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