Amid speculations of a ban on right-wing outfit Bajrang Dal in Karnataka following Congress’s emphatic win in assembly elections, senior party leader Jairam Ramesh on Sunday stressed that the youth wing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) believes in spreading politics of hatred and violence, urging not to link it with Lord Hanuman, also known as Bajrang Bali.
“Bajrang Dal is different and Bajrang Bali is different. Bajrang Dal believes in spreading the politics of hatred and violence,” Jairam Ramesh, Congress general secretary in charge of communications, told news agency ANI.
“What Congress party said in its manifesto is any organisation that breaks the law, spreads religious hatred, religious bigotry, spreads communal violence will be dealt with according to the law and constitution,” he added.
A major row erupted during the election campaign in Karnataka after the Congress party, in its poll manifesto, promised to take “decisive action as per law including imposing a ban” on organisations spreading “hatred amongst communities on grounds of caste or religion.”
“We believe that law and Constitution is sacrosanct and can not be violated by individuals and organisations like Bajrang Dal, PFI or other promoting enmity or hatred, when among majority or minority communities,” the manifesto read.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tried to make it a poll issue by linking the outfit with Lord Hanuman. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also came down heavily on Congress during election rallies and said, “The Congress in its manifesto has decided to lock up Lord Hanuman. Initially, they locked up Prabhu Shri Ram (Lord Ram). And now they want to lock up people who say ‘Jai Bajrang Bali’.”
Defending Congress’s manifesto, Jairam Ramesh pointed to the ban on Sri Ram Sene by the BJP-led Goa government.
“Who banned Sri Ram Sene in Goa? Who was the chief minister on 20th August 2014? Manohar Parrikar? Who was the prime minister? Mr Narendra Modi. Did he say Lord Ram was disrespected? That ban was continued in 2018 and 2020,” he said.
The Sri Ram Sene, also known as Sri Ram Sena, is a right-wing Hindu nationalist organization founded by Pramod Muthalik, a former member of the Bajrang Dal. The group claims to work towards preserving Hindu culture, traditions, and values but its critics argue that the group’s activities often infringe upon personal freedoms, promote intolerance, and incite violence.
Sri Ram Sene gained national attention in 2009 when its members attacked a pub in Mangalore, a city in Karnataka, as part of a campaign against “immoral activities” they perceived to be occurring there. The incident sparked widespread controversy and condemnation, leading to criticism of the organization for its vigilantism and moral policing tactics.