Hindu Raksha Dal, the outfit behind Sunday's JNU attack

Hindu Raksha Dal, the outfit behind Sunday's JNU attack

Headquartered in the bustling industrial township of Ghaziabad, abutting the eastern boundary of the national capital, the outfit helmed by Bhupendra Tomar alias Pinky Choudhary, is active largely in parts of western Uttar Pradesh. Credit: Twitter screengrab

By owning responsibility for Sunday's horrific attack at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus, a fringe outfit Hindu Raksha Dal has found itself at the centre of a raging controversy.

Headquartered in the bustling industrial township of Ghaziabad, abutting the eastern boundary of the national capital, the outfit helmed by Bhupendra Tomar alias Pinki Choudhary, is active largely in parts of western Uttar Pradesh.

“Those who will speak up for Hindutva are our activists, I take full responsibility for the attack in JNU,” Choudhary told news agency ANI, a claim that shifted focus away from the RSS youth wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

The outfit has been active in the region since 2013 and claims to have raised issues such as cow protection, love jihad, Kashmir and Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Choudhary claims to be the national president of the Hindu Raksha Dal (HRD) which has branches in some parts of the national capital, and few towns in western Uttar Pradesh such as Ghaziabad, Noida, Bulandshahr, Meerut and Loni.

Sandeep Katara, the Legal Advisor to the HRD, told DH that the outfit had one lakh registered members and most of them used the suffix 'Hindu' to their names.

Katara claimed that HRD led by Choudhary had carried out an attack on the Aam Aadmi Party office in Ghaziabad's Kaushambi locality in January 2014, weeks after the party had won the Delhi assembly elections in 2013.

“A number of our activists were arrested then. Pinki Bhaiya was also in jail for four months,” Katara claimed. 

He said the outfit admired Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, but have not hesitated to be critical of him on the issue of cow protection.

The website of the outfit claimed that it worked for 'empowering the Hindu society and protecting the Hindu dharma'. It had photographs of Choudhary, but had no details about the person.

When asked about the educational or professional background of Choudhary, Katara said he only worked for the protection of the religion

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