The Hyderabad police on Thursday took 60 members of the Bajrang Dal into custody for taking out a rally without permission and attempting to burn an effigy on Valentine’s Day in the city’s LB Nagar area.
Visuals showed the Hyderabad police hauling the men into vehicles, as the men chant ‘Jai Sri Ram’ and hold orange flags. They attempted to burn an effigy, which was clad in a white cloth, was apparently St Valentine.
Several members of the group also protested in front of jewellery stores that were giving Valentine's day offers on gold. “We protested at Panjagutta and at LB Nagar. At Panjagutta, we protested before jewellery shops that are running Valentine's day-based offers. At LB Nagar, our volunteers got arrested by police for trying to burn an effigy,” claimed Subash Chandra, the state convener of the Bajrang Dal.
Ashok Reddy, Inspector at the LB Nagar Police Station told TNM that 60 people have been taken into preventive custody. “They took a rally from Hanuman temple to LB Nagar X cross and were trying to burn an effigy. We took them in before they could burn the effigy. They did not have permission for taking out the rally,” he said.
The Bajrang Dal, the youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and a part of the RSS family, had made clear its intention to take out rallies and protest in front of stores, offices and pubs in Hyderabad celebrating Valentine’s Day. The group claimed they are against the commercialization of love by private companies for the purpose of making a profit.
While Subash had earlier told TNM that there would be teams that would be scouting for couples, protesting at pre-planned locations, taking out bike rallies and burning effigies, the Hyderabad police said that they were prepared and had increased security. “No one in society accepts vulgarity and if there is any breach of decency and law, police will take action, but interfering with people’s free will is not correct. Taking the law into own hands is not correct and shall not be tolerated,” DS Chauhan, Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and Order), told TNM earlier.