JUN 15, 2018: India’s Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal have been classified as ‘militant religious organization’ in the CIA’s World Factbook. The two organizations have been put in the category of ‘Political pressure groups’ in the annual document of the American intelligence agency.
CIA has put some other organizations under the same category but they have not been described as ‘militant religious organization’.
While All Parties Hurriyat Conference in the Indian-administered Kashmir Valley has been described as ‘separatist group’, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS has been categorized as a ‘nationalist organization’ and Jamiat Ulema-e Hind (Mahmood Madani group) as ‘religious organization’.
Members of VHP, Bajrang Dal and some other outfits of Sangh Parivar are often found involved in various violent activities in the name of faith, cow, beef and culture.
However, their classification by CIA as ‘militant religious organization’ seems to have irked them.
“This came to our notice a few days ago. We are consulting experts and seeking legal advice to counter this,” Manoj Verma, national convenor, Bajrang Dal has reportedly said.
Last week, VHP activists vandalized gates of the iconic Taj Mahal arguing that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was blocking entry to a 400-year-old Shiva temple.
The radival activists were seen carrying hammers and iron rods to target the western entrance to the UNESCO World Heritage site in Agra, UP, a video footage that went viral on social media showed.
Earlier this year, a team of VHP members also tried to perform a ‘Shiv aarti ceremony’ inside the premises of the Taj Mahal.
(Based on original report in Caravan Daily)