Hard-line Hindu Gangs Harass Couples on Valentine's Day

Bajrang Dal group members were booked for allegedly harassing couples in public places on Monday, February 14. The extremist ring-wing group picked on boys and girls spending Valentine's Day in Paliwal Park.

Sudhir Kumar Singh, a police officer from Agra's police department, said a first information report (FIR) was filed against members of Bajrang Dal for detaining people and causing trouble on February 14. Legal actions are being taken against them, Singh said.

According to local news, the group was against Valentine's Day celebration and stopped people, especially couples, from observing it. The group was allegedly rounding up boys and girls, confronting them and accusing them of celebrating Valentine's Day.

Avtar Singh Gill, a member of Bajrang Dal, said they are opposed to any celebration of Valentine's Day. "This is a western culture which is flourishing in India, but it will not be allowed to flourish here," Gill said. He also urged other Hindus to "question such Hindu boys and girls not only on Valentine's Day but every day when they see such couples in public."

Before the harassment incident, the right-wing group also staged a protest on Saturday, February 12, in Abids Circle in Hyderabad in Telangana. Local news outlets reported that the group burned Valentine's Day greeting cards and a supposed effigy of “Valentine.”

Kailash, a member of Bajrang Dal, claimed that Valentine's Day is forcibly imposed on India by multinational companies. These companies want people to celebrate a western culture so they can make money on "greeting cards and private album songs," Kailash explained.

Instead of celebrating Valentine's Day, the group urged people to use the soldiers who died during the Pulwama attack as their inspiration. The group referred to the 2019 suicide-bombing attack on a Central Reserve Police Force convoy. The attack happened on February 14 and killed 40 soldiers.

"The youth needs to understand and take these soldiers as inspiration, not Valentine's Day," Kailash said.

The group also demanded that the Telangana state government declares February 14 as Amar Jawan Diwas, referring to India's 1971 victory against Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistan war.

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