The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Trident ban plan

Jaipur, Feb. 9: Rajasthan may ban the Bajrang Dal’s campaign of trishul (trident) distribution. The government is already seeking legal opinion in the matter.

A senior state police officer, Arun Duggar, was recently sent to Madhya Pradesh to study the state’s ban on such activities last year. According to home minister Gulab Singh Shaktawat, Duggar has submitted a report to the government on the basis of his feedback from Madhya Pradesh. The report has now been referred to the law ministry for its opinion.

Shaktawat said a ban is necessary because largescale trishul distribution programmes initiated by the Bajrang Dal have been on across Rajasthan for some time now. It is considered detrimental to communal harmony in the state, he said.

Since the Gujarat polls, the Bajrang Dal-VHP combine has stepped up its activities in Rajasthan with largescale “trishul dhaaran” (trident brandishing) programmes under the leadership of VHP’s Praveen Togadia.

The state government was forced to act when Usha Meena, former MP from Sawai Madhopur, led a delegation to the state home minister to draw his attention to the distribution of 3,000 trishuls in Gangapur town some time ago.

The delegation said the local police had remained a silent spectator when the trishul ceremony was performed in Togadia’s presence.

Duggar, on his return from Bhopal, said the Madhya Pradesh government had banned trishul dhaaran in August. Earlier, some Madhya Pradesh districts had banned carrying of arms by members of the People’s War Group. The ban was later extended to the entire state.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has threatened an agitation if the state clamps a ban on owning trishuls and their distribution.

In a statement, Rajasthan VHP chief Jagannath Gupta said a trishul is the symbol of Hindu religion. He emphasised that the outfit members pledge against misusing the trident during trishul deeksha.

They simply take an oath to protect the motherland and the religion, Gupta said.

According to Gupta, the Ashok Gehlot government is busy planning to act against people’s religious faith instead of checking the rising crime graph in the state. Such a move will not be tolerated, he said.

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