AHMEDABAD: Gujarat is known for its Hindu-Muslim polarization, which paved the way for the national stage for Narendra Modi. After Uttar Pradesh’s electoral win, it is time for BJP to thrash congress in Gujarat. UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s Hindu Yuva Vahini (HYV) is planning expansion on a big scale in Gujarat, already known as Hindutva’s laboratory.
The Hindu Yuva Vahini, floated by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in 2002, is targeting Gujarat and has asked the state BJP government to revive the ‘anti-Romeo squads’. The BJP-led state government had for the first time formed such squads in Gujarat in 1998, but they were largely dormant. The Anti-Romeo squads were recently introduced by the Yogi Adityanath government in UP to ostensibly check incidents of eve-teasing, indecent behavior and passing of lewd comments at women and girls.
Anti-Romeo squads are battling allegations of moral policing in UP for harassing couples in public spaces and even meting out punishment for “indecent” behavior. Two months ago, members of the Vahini broke into a house in Meerut and dragged out a Hindu-Muslim couple, thrashing the man in full public view.
The HYV is also aiming to widen the scope of Hindutva in order to bring about massive Hindu consolidation ahead of the next general election in 2019. Now it is testing the waters in Gujarat as state assembly elections will be held in around December 2017. While UP polls were a matter of prestige for Modi and Shah, Gujarat could well be the ‘do or die’ battle for them.
The right-wing outfit aims to induct over six lakh members within six months and plans to spread awareness about the ‘true Hindu culture’ as well as to keep a check on conversion, incidents of love jihad and cow slaughter. Though the non-political outfit was present in Gujarat since last three years, it was in a dormant state having only around 11,000 registered members, Hindu Yuva Vahini’s (HYV) Gujarat president Shailendra Pathak said.
On their plans for the state, Pathak told reporters, “The organisation would now play an active role in Gujarat on key issues concerning Hindus, such as love jihad, cow protection and religious conversion. Though we are present in Gujarat since last three years, we were not that active. But now, we are launching HYV in Gujarat in a big way. We have already started building our organisation in several districts and will expand further in future.”
The outfit’s newly appointed state secretary Arjun Mishra, who will be leading the expansion drive, said, “The Hindu Yuva Vahini will ask the BJP-led Gujarat government to form anti-Romeo squads on the lines of Uttar Pradesh.” The target is to induct six to seven lakh new members, the 25-year-old leader said. “Our aim is to strengthen our organisation upto the ward level. We are aiming to make at least six to seven lakh new members in the first phase, which would be of six months,” Mishra said. According to the two leaders, the key agenda of the outfit would be to spread awareness about the ‘true Hindu culture’ .
“We will not engage in re-conversion. Instead, we will make Hindus aware about how they are being lured to convert to other religions. Hindus are still being converted in many parts of the state, such as Dahod, Kheda and western Ahmedabad,” Pathak claimed. Another focus area of the group will be curbing incidents of Hindu women marrying Muslim men or what the Vahini calls “love jihad”.