In protest against Congress, after they promised a state-wide ban on Bajrang Dal if voted to power, members of Vishva Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal on May 4 recited Hanuman Chalisa in Karnataka’s Vijayanagar.
News agency ANI shared a video from the site with the caption, “Vishva Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal recite Hanuman Chalisa in Vijayanagar in order to protest against the Congress manifesto for Karnataka elections.”
— ANI (@ANI) May 4, 2023
The protest came after the Congress party in their manifesto compared a social service organisation, Bajrang Dal with terror outfits like PFI, which are already banned in the state.
Union Minister Shobha Karandlaje called for the ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ protest in the state against Congress.
In the manifesto, Congress said: “We believe that law and Constitution is sacrosanct and cannot be violated by individuals and organisations like Bajrang Dal, PFI or others promoting enmity or hatred, whether among majority or minority communities. We will take decisive action as per law including imposing a ban on such organisations,” read the Congress manifesto released by the party president Mallikarjun Kharge.
After the release of the Congress manifesto the Joint General Secretary, VHP Surendra Jain said, “Congress comparing organisation that is dedicated to serving the people of the country with a terrorist organisation like PFI is highly condemnable. The Congress has always joined hands with the PFI and that is why the existence of Bajrang Dal hurts them. We have raised our voices against the ‘Sar Tan Se Juda’ gangs and that is why they are calling for a ban on us.”
“I would like to tell Madam Sonia Gandhi that, she cannot fool the people of this country by her shallow move. The same Congress which once protested the ban against terrorist organisation SIMI, is calling for a ban on Bajrang Dal, such a shame it is”, added Jain.
Notably, this is not the first time that the Karnataka state leadership has called for banning the Bajrang Dal and compared it with PFI. In August 2016, the then Congress state president Dinesh Gundu Rao said he wants to ban the Bajrang Dal for its cow vigilantism and cultural policing.
He said, “Bajrang Dal historically has involved itself in activities that disturb people, creates fear among them. They rush into situations and take advantage, assault people in the name of culture and in the name of Hinduism, Hindutva. These anti-social elements use the name of Bajrang Dal for extortion, blackmail, they threaten people using slogans like Gau Raksha. They run an extortion racket in many places. They must be banned.”
All these people (Gau Rakshaks) are associated with the Sangh Parivar, Bajrang Dal is associated with the Sangh Parivar”, he added.
Calling for a peaceful protest following the manifesto the Bajrang Dal activists said, “This is the time when ‘Dharma’ is in danger and standing together is the only way forward. We should set aside our differences and come together to protect dharma, and hold hands together”.
The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) too extended its support to the call.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his public meeting at Hospet in Vijayanagara district on Tuesday, too had come down heavily on the Congress promise of banning Bajrang Dal saying: “The Congress in its manifesto has decided to lock up Lord Hanuman. Initially, they locked up Prabhu Shri Ram (Lord Ram). And now they want to lock up people who say ‘Jai Bajrang Bali’ (Hail Hanuman).”
Union Minister G Kishan Reddy said, “The Congress party is trying to divide the people of the country on the basis of religion for votes. I want to ask Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi whether Bajrang Dal is anti-national. Is Bajrang Dal a terrorist organization? You want to come to power only for Muslim votes in the name of Bajrang Dal and by dividing people in the name of religion.”
The Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also responded to the Congress manifesto and said, “PFI is already banned. Siddaramaiah government withdrew cases of PFI. So, they are saying that to appease Muslims, they will ban Bajrang Dal. Congress is saying that PFI can’t say that we will take revenge. Congress’ manifesto looks like the manifesto of PFI and fundamentalist Muslim organizations.”