The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sangh and Gehlot in trishul tussle

Jaipur, April 11: The Ashok Gehlot government and the Sangh parivar seem to be heading for a showdown on Sunday over the trishul (trident).

In defiance of a recent state ban on the distribution of tridents, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has decided to hold the trishul diksha (initiation) ceremony on that day in Ajmer. Present at the ceremony, where Bajrang Dal activists would be given the diksha, will be VHP general secretary Praveen Togadia.

Sources in Ajmer say police have been trying to locate and seize a consignment of trishul reportedly around 600 that has reached the city by courier.

Warning the administration against interference, the VHP said if attempts were made to disrupt the ceremony, Togadia would take out a rally through the streets of the city.

The police are understood to have been trying to avert any confrontation and are in dialogue with the VHP leaders.

BJP state vice-president Lalit Kishore Chaturvedi said the party would take a decision on whether to make the ban an election issue at the first meeting of its newly-formed executive tomorrow. General secretary Pramod Mahajan will also be present.

Chaturvedi said the ban on the trishul as undemocratic, unnecessary and against the religious sentiments of the people.

State home minister Gulab Singh Shaktawat said the traditional use of the trishul in religious functions had not been prohibited. The ban, he said, was on the three-bladed knives that were being distributed in the name of trishul. The government would not allow the misuse of religious symbols for triggering communal disharmony, the minister added.

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