February 14, 2005

Bajrang Dal upsets V-Day celebrations

Bajrang Dal upsets V-Day celebrations
NDTV Correspondent
Monday, February 14, 2005 (Bhopal):
While the entire world is going crazy celebrating love, love birds in Bhopal are having a tough time because of the Bajrang Dal threat.
Since the saffron government came to power, the self-appointed moral police are more visible and menacing.
Saffron threat
Their latest fatwa is that any couple caught celebrating Valentine's Day will suffer public humiliation and get their faces blackened.
It's a diktat that has not only kept couples in hiding but also affected the floral business. Earlier, Valentine's Day meant florists making between Rs 15-50 for a dozen roses. But this time, there are hardly any takers even at Rs 10.
"Last Valentine we did brisk business. A flower was sold at fifteen, twenty and sometimes even at RS 45! But this year even at ten rupees, nobody is buying because of the Bajrang Dal. As a result of the terror created by them, we are not getting any customers," said Ashok, a florist.
Business hit
Hotels too are deserted. This year there are no theme parties, no Valentine Balls and no incentives to celebrate romance.
"What if we go out somewhere and the Bajrang Dal attacks us. I am scared whether to celebrate or not," said Rahul Singh, a local.
The land that gave Khajuraho to the world – an ultimate symbol of eroticism – now love is a forbidden word here courtesy the self-appointed Custodians of Indian culture.
According to the saffron brigade, love is only permitted after a couple is married.

Hindu Hardliners Burn Valentine Cards

World - AP Asia
Hindu Hardliners Burn Valentine Cards

Mon Feb 14, 5:50 AM ET

NEW DELHI, India - Nearly 50 Hindu hardliners burned Valentine's Day (news - web sites) cards and posters in the Indian capital on Monday, protesting the international day of love that they say imposes Western values on India's youth.

Reuters Photo

There was no violence as policemen cordoned off the area and prevented the Shiv Sena activists from marching through the sprawling Delhi University campus.

In the past, Hindu nationalists have ransacked shops selling cards and harassed young lovers seen holding hands in public.

On Monday, the protesters dispersed after chanting slogans.

Jai Bhagwan Goyal, New Delhi chief of the Bombay-based Shiv Sena, said multinational companies were promoting Valentine's Day to earn money through the sale of cards and posters.

"This is against Hindu culture and corrupts India's youth," he said.

The protest didn't have any impact on the university campus, as young students continued to move around exchanging flowers and cards.

The Shiv Sena organizes protests every year on Feb. 14 to demand a ban on Valentine's Day celebrations, but gets little response from the government.

Shiv Sena wants India to be a Hindu nation, rather than a secular, multi-religious one.

Valentine's Day has gained popularity in India despite being a cultural flashpoint. Conservative traditions have been buffeted by growing permissiveness among high school and colleges students and young adults.