Bengaluru: A photograph of Bajrang Dal activists undergoing shooting training in Karnataka went viral on social media, creating a flutter all around. While police said they were collecting information about the camp, Bajrang Dal leaders told media outlets that the workshop was aimed at building mental and physical resilience in Karyakartas and that the weapons seen being used in the picture and video are air guns, not real arms.
The camp was held between May 5 and 11 at the Sai Shankar Educational Institute in Ponnampet, Kodagu district of Karnataka, as per news reports.
Talking to the Indian Express, Superintendent of police MA Aiyappa said that the Bajrang Dal and the Vishva Hindu Parishad organise such camps every year. “This year also they organised and no permission was sought. We got information about the incident from social media. No complaint has been filed. According to the Arms Act, you do not need a licence to use an airgun. We are probing the matter,” he was quoted by the media house.
Bajrang Dal maintained that 116 activists were a part of the camp and while the guns in the picture were actually airguns, “trishuls” handed over at the camp were allegedly not sharp. These were part of self-defence training sessions, they reportedly claimed.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka Congress demanded the arrest of Bajrang Dal leaders for giving arms training to students on the school premises in the state’s Madikeri town. But the group has maintained those who were training were not students but youth from the state. Congress leader Siddaramaiah said, “Arms training in Madikeri has challenged the law of our land”.”Do we have a Home minister or an Education minister in Karnataka? Is the government still alive?” Siddaramaiah questioned.”MLAs MP Appachu, KG Bopaiah and Suja Kushalappa participated in the Shaurya Prashikshana varga event of Bajrang Dal. Do they have any commitment towards our Constitution?” he further asked.
The Congress leader said that the arms training is against the law and Home Minister should file a case against the Bajrang Dal leaders and arrest them. Siddaramaiah suggested that Education minister BC Nagesh should take action against the school authorities for allowing Bajrang Dal to organise ‘illegal’ activities.”BJP should clarify their relationship with the organizations like Bajrang Dal, Hindu Jagarana Vedike and others which are involved in illegal activities,” the Karnataka Congress leader said. “Has BJP granted any special concession to communal organisations like Bajrang Dal and Sri Rama Sene to disturb the peace in our state?” he further questioned.