NATIONAL

Sangh Parivar to resume 'trishul diksha'

JAIPUR, AUG. 14. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal have announced the resumption of the "trishul diksha" (distribution of tridents) programme that they had given up in Rajasthan some time last year following amendments made to the Arms Act by the then Congress-led Government in the State.

The two Sangh Parivar outfits on Friday organised a low-profile programme at the VHP office in Udaipur handing over the "trishuls" to nine workers in the presence of the VHP's national secretary, Hukum Chand Sanwla.

`Samarohs'

Similar "samarohs" (gatherings) are scheduled to be held in Jaipur, Bharatpur, Sikar and smaller towns like Kotputli and Kairthal over this week-end.

The notification on the Arms Act, amending Section 4, issued by the State Home Department on April 8, 2003, was purportedly to ban procurement, possession and distribution of "trishuls" by bringing them under the Act with additional references to single-edged and multi-edged sharp weapons.

The amendments to the Act carried out by the Gehlot Government in the State had a sobering effect on the promoters of the "trishul diksha", especially in the wake of the now famous arrest of Pravin Togadia, the VHP general secretary, in Ajmer on April 13 last, allegedly after the distribution of tridents in a function.

The Bharatiya Janata Party Government which took office in the State after that has been avoiding a repeal of the Act.

Growing concern

The Rajasthan People's Union for Civil Liberties, which expressed concern over attempts to revive the "trishul diksha", in a statement today alleged that the administration and the police had remained mere spectators even when the VHP and the Bajrang Dal went about making preparations for distribution of the "weapons" shaped as "trishuls".

The president and general secretary of Rajasthan PUCL, Than Singh Jatav and Kavita Srivastava, respectively, today demanded registering of cases against those who violated the Arms Act and their arrests under Section 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

"The lenient stand of the BJP Government in the State towards these communal outfits and the recent decision to withdraw 122 cases against those involved in communal riots have emboldened these elements," Ms. Srivastava charged.

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