Yogi Adityanath’s Hindu Yuva Vahini plans to revive anti-Romeo squads in Gujarat

13-06-2017
HT

Controversial right-wing group Hindu Yuva Vahini, founded by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, is planning to revive anti-Romeo squads in Gujarat as part of its expansion plans in the BJP-ruled state to spread awareness about “true Hindu culture”.

The outfit aims to induct over 600,000 members within six months and plans to keep a check on conversion and cow slaughter. The western state had formed such squads – aimed at checking incidents of sexual harassment of women in public spaces – for the first time in 1998 but the groups remain dormant.

“Though we are present in Gujarat since last three years, we were not that active. But now, we are launching HYV in Gujarat in a big way,” Gujarat Vahini president Shailendra Pathak said.

Anti-Romeo squads are battling allegations of moral policing in UP for harassing couples in public spaces and even meting out punishment for “indecent” behaviour. Two months ago, alleged members of the Vahini broke into a house in Meerut and dragged out an Hindu-Muslim couple, thrashing the man in full public view.

“We have already started building our organisation in several districts and will expand further in future,” added Pathak.

The outfit’s newly appointed state secretary Arjun Mishra, who will be leading the expansion drive, said, “The Hindu Yuva Vahini will ask the BJP-led Gujarat government to form anti-Romeo squads on the lines of Uttar Pradesh.”

“We will not engage in re-conversion. Instead, we will make Hindus aware about how they are being lured to convert to other religions. Hindus are still being converted in many parts of the state, such as Dahod, Kheda and western Ahmedabad,” Pathak claimed.

Another focus area of the group will be curbing incidents of Hindu women marrying Muslim men or what the Vahini calls “love jihad”.

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