Defending the Bajrang Dal’s ‘self-defence’ camp at Saraswati Shishu Mandir in Sector 12 in Noida as “social responsibility”, Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) president Pravin Togadia on Saturday said the Bajrang Dal has been organising such camps under the ambit of constitutional law for the past 25 years in every state of the country, whether it is a Congress-ruled state or SP, BSP, Communists or BJP-ruled.
“Under the Indian Constitution and laws, every citizen of India has the right to pursue activities, and the Bajrang Dal has been organising ‘Yuva Shaurya Prasikshan’ camps for the past 25 years to make the youth of the nation healthy whether it is a Congress-ruled state or SP, BSP, Communists or BJP-ruled,” he told reporters after attending a valedictory function of the self-defence camp in Noida.
“In 1951, there were nearly 10 lakh patients when India’s population was 30 crores. Now, the population is 125 crores, according to which the number of patients should have been 45 lakhs, but that has increased to 40 crores. One of the reasons for this is not taking regular exercise. By organising such camps, we are trying to make youth of the nation healthy and save the nations’ Rs. 14 lakh crores as told to the WHO,” said Togadia, while justifying such camps by the Hindu body.
“For making the nation healthy, SP, BSP and BJP governments should thank to the Bajranj Dal,” he added.
When it was pointed out that visuals showed trainees brandishing swords and using other weapons during training, Togadia retorted, “I have not seen swords anywhere. If someone has seen it, he must show it to me as well.”
Answering a question on a video showing volunteers wearing skull caps were reportedly brandishing firearm, swords and lathis going viral on Monday, the VHP chief said, “The visuals of their training have not appeared on TV for the first time, but are being shown for the past 15 years. There is nothing new in it.”
“As far as caps are concerned,” he said, “even my parents used to wear caps in Gujarat. Entire Hindustan wears cap. Even Hindus wear caps. Earlier, there was Gandhi cap, now AAP caps are there. In Maharashtra, farmers wear caps.”
“Keeping the youth of the nation healthy is a responsibility of the government, which the Bajrang Dal is performing as its social responsibility, for which it should be appreciated and thanked. Above all, we are doing this under the ambit of the Indian Constitution and are not at the mercy of anybody,” he added.
Asked if their training programme was influenced by the upcoming Uttar Pradesh elections, he said: “The VHP will not do anything by keeping polls in mind. I will suggest Akhilesh Yadav (UP Chief Minister) to increase jobs for the youth and check inflation in the state, which will gain him public support. We will not back any communal activity in Uttar Pradesh, and also not let the environment deteriorate. The UP and central governments should work for providing jobs to the youth and check inflation. We will not interfere in their effort.”
When questioned if the celebration of Shri Ram Janma Bhoomi Nyas president Mahant Nritya Gopal Das was the beginning of the Ram Mandir Andolan (agitation), Togadia said the agitation has been going on for the past 450 years.
The camp, where more than 300 participants underwent training to handle situations like attacks by extremist groups, concluded here on Saturday.