JNU attack: What is Hindu Raksha Dal?

JNU attack: What is Hindu Raksha Dal?

Group leader Pinki Chaudhary, in his video, indicated support for far-right ideologies and a strong Hindutva agenda.

The Hindu Raksha Dal claimed responsibility for the attack on Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students on Sunday, via a video that went viral on Monday. In the video, group leader Pinky Chaudhary said that those who resort to "anti-national activities" will face the same treatment as the JNU students and faculty.

In the video, Chaudhary said, "For several years, JNU has been a bastion of communists and we will not tolerate it. Hindu Raksha Dal, Bhupendra Tomar, Pinky Chaudhury take the responsibility of what has happened in JNU...all of them were our volunteers. Those who cannot do such work for Mother India don't have the right to live in this country."

Here is all about the group that you need to know:

What is Hindu Raksha Dal?

The Hindu Raksha Dal is a far-right group, that has been in support of the BJP and has its headquarters in Ghaziabad. The outfit works majorly across the western region of the state.

The group has been involved in various acts of violence over the years. On December 2017, they were a part of a collective of groups that came together in the name of "Hindutva" to denounce the marriage of a Muslim man to a Hindu woman as an instance of "love jihad", according to a Scroll.in report. The couple was getting married under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.

Where did it begin?

It all is said to have begun in 1986. The Calcutta Quran Petition, written by Sita Ram Goel and Chandmal Chopra, sought to censor and ban Quran in India. The petition was filed at the Calcutta High Court stating that “under Article 226 of the Constitution of India on March 29, 1985, praying for a Writ of Mandamus directing the State of West Bengal to declare each copy of the Quran, whether in the original Arabic or in its translation in any of the languages, as forfeited to the government.” 

The very same year, The Hindu Raksha Dal published a poster which mentioned 24 Ayats of the Quran along with a caption that read, "Why riots take place in the country?" and a line reading, “These Ayats command the believers (Musalmans) to fight against followers of other faiths" and that "so long as the Ayats are not removed from the Quran, riots in the country cannot be prevented," according to the preface of the book’s second edition.

The book also says that the Hindu Raksha Dal's then DelhiPresident, Indra Sain Sharma, and Secretary, Rajkumar Arya, were arrested under Sections 153A and 295A of the Indian Penal Code for the offence. This is the earliest reference DH has uncovered so far about this group.

Attacking AAP in 2013

The group became visible to the public eye on January 8, 2014, when 30 Hindu Raksha Dal members attacked the AAP office in Kaushambi, Ghaziabad, pelted stones, broke flower pots and abused the party leaders, such as Prashanth Bhushan over their comments blaming the BJP for situation in Kashmir.
 

Also read: AAP office attacked in Ghaziabad

Earlier that month, Bhushan had blamed the BJP and Sangh’s "extreme frustration" at the "phenomenal rise of AAP." He also spoke about the then AFSPA issue in Jammu and Kashmir. " had said that impunity of AFSPA should be removed in order to win the hearts of the people of Kashmir." 

Also read: Didn't challenge Kashmir's accession to India: Bhushan

Responding to the situation, then BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said, "We condemn the attack. No one has a right to take the law in their hands. But we must not forget the comments Bhushan made. We condemn that (too)."

Cow slaughtering case in Dadri

On September 28, 2015, 55-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq and his son were lynched by a mob for allegedly consuming beef, and Akhlaq eventually died, according to a Hindustan Times report.

Cases were registered against five members -- Union minister Mahesh Sharma, BJP legislator Sangeet Som, BSP leader Naseemuddin Siddiqui, Omji Maharaj of the Hindu Raksha Dal and Parvez, for violating prohibitory orders, the report said.

Despite the orders, Pinky Chaudhary met family of the accused in Akhlaq’s lynching case in Bisada. Officials ordered an FIR against Hindu Rakshak Dal for violating Section 144, as per the Hindustan Times report.

"I met the family of the accused who was framed by police in the case. Hindus will not tolerate an attack on our mother cow. The cases of cow slaughter will be dealt with in the same way like the Hindus did in Bisada. Police crackdown on innocent villagers will further worsen the situation in the village," said Bhupendra Tomar, president of HRD, according to the report.

The group has staged various protests and blocked traffic multiple times over such cow-slaughtering issues.

"We will campaign in nearby villages against cow slaughter. I have seen pictures of the calf that was slaughtered in the village. I warn Muslims not to indulge in acts that hurt the sentiments of the Hindus," Chaudhary told the publication.

Dasna Temple in Ghazibad:

On October 3, 2017, Hindu Raksha Dal was among the various saffron groups who supported those involved in firing that took place at the ancient Dasna Devi temple in Ghaziabad, according to a Hindustan Times report.

The incident took place after a superintendent of police (SSP) shot a video, that went viral on social media, which showed devotees performing the ‘Shastra Puja’ rituals and later firing in the air inside the temple complex, as per the report.

The groups protested against the filing of an FIR against the indiscriminate use of weapons.

"The FIR and any action on it will not be tolerated. The Shastra Puja is an age-old ritual which is being performed for centuries now. We will resort to a major protest if any of the devotees seen in the video is arrested," said Pinki Chaudhary, president of the association, according to the report.
 

Online presence

A website on their name was found - http://www.hindurakshadal.com/#testimonial.html - but DH could not be verify if it was an official website. 

The website had a slogan reading "Empowering the Hindu society and protecting the Hindu dharma" overlapping an image of a group of people surrounding Chaudhary clad in a saffron turban.

The website did not hold much information about the group, as one of the bios only had the slogan 'Jai Shri Ram' typed over and over.
 

A non-verified handle was found on Twitter named as HINDU RAKSHA DAL HRD PINKY BHAIYA (@RakshaHrd), which claimed to be Pinky Chaudhary aka Bhupendra Tomar aka Bhupendra Singh. The handle has multiple posts and retweets that seem to take strong stances against Muslims.

The Twitter handle also sent a tweet on PM Narendra Modi that loosely translates to, "And one more thing, from 2014 to 2019, nobody could uproot Narendra Modi's stand... In 2020 also, nobody can uproot him *True Bhakt* [sic]" and added a smiley face with sunglasses.

The account also retweeted an ANI tweet that had a video of Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi travelling on a two-wheeler to meet family members of former IPS officer SR Darapuri, with a comment saying, "Inka chalna karo (Take them away) [sic]".

What is the group's ideology?

The group undertakes various programmes, such a 'Vishal Raagini Programme', in Ghaziabad in 2016, which was posted on a Facebook handle that could not be verified as the official one. 

Chaudhary also took a jibe at Bollywood in a 10-minute video from 2017 and said, "The big directors in Bollywood are working under Dawood Ibrahim as they are afraid of him, and if they are not speaking against Islam, because if they do so, they will be killed. [sic]"

In the video, he said that the situation now was so scary that attempts were being made to destroy our civilisation and to distort our history. Chaudhary's younger brother Sanket, also featured in the video and spoke on the movie PK. In Hindi, he said that the movie made attempts to "kill our 'dharm' and our Gods. This movie is anti-Hindu and shows our Gods in a negative light. And now they are attacking our Hindu history" [sic].

JNU attack

In the violence at JNU, masked intruders entered the campus with iron rods and batons and attacked students and faculty.

The Delhi Police have initiated an investigation to identify those responsible for the attack by going through video footage and using facial recognition software.
 

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