2 Bajrang Dal Members Arrested For Arms Training Camp In Assam: Cops

The Rashtriya Bajrang Dal claimed that 350 youths were trained in handling firearms and martial arts.


Two members of Rashtriya Bajrang Dal were arrested on Wednesday in a case related to organising an arms training camp in Darrang district of Assam, police said. Darrang Superintendent of Police Prakash Sonowal told PTI that two members of the outfit — Bijoy Ghosh and Gopal Boro — have been arrested for organising the camp at the premises of Maharishi Vidya Mandir school in Mangaldoi.

“Both of them have been sent to judicial custody. Our investigation is on to nab the other people involved in the illegal arms training camp in the school,” he added.

On Tuesday, Hemanta Payeng, the principal of the school, and Ratan Das, an administrator of the school, were arrested for their role in the arms training, Mr Sonowal said.

“Payeng and Das have been released on bail. We are at present looking for other members of the outfit,” the SP added.

A purported video of the camp where young men were seen being trained with pistols and guns went viral on social media, triggering criticism and outrage across the state.

The Rashtriya Bajrang Dal claimed that 350 youths were trained in handling firearms and martial arts, besides lessons on arts, politics and spirituality at the four-day camp organised in the Maharishi Vidya Mandir school.

A case was registered at the Mangaldoi police station under IPC sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 34 (a criminal act done by several persons in furtherance of common intention), Darrang Police had tweeted on Monday.

Meanwhile, AIUDF president and Lok Sabha MP Badruddin Ajmal despatched three identical letters to Union Home Minister, Assam Chief Minister and the state DGP, and demanded stringent action against the organisation as well as an on any such future activities.

“In a viral video, the office bearers of the organisation were seen inciting people to wage war against Muslims and also to trap Muslim women for marriage. They were openly threatening the Muslim community, spreading hatred against them and also passing insulting remarks against them,” Mr Ajmal alleged.

The AIUDF president said in the letter that this was a “very threatening trend” initiated by (Rashtriya) Bajrang Dal, which is posing a threat to communal harmony, peace and tranquillity in the society.

“This may create communal tension and may flare up the situation, therefore, it is foremost necessary to pose a complete ban on all unlawful activities of the Bajrang Dal to save the society,” he added.

Mr Ajmal also demanded that the ongoing probe should look into the role of local police administration in allowing such “objectionable programmes” to take place.

Raijor Dal president and MLA Akhil Gogoi has also written a letter to Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and questioned if the training camp was a “preparation to carry out communal clashes” in the state.

“Will there be any disturbance before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls? The role of Home Department, which is under you, and Assam Police have made citizens of Assam concerned,” he added.

Mr Gogoi also demanded adding other stringent provisions of the law such as the National Security Act (NSA) and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UA(P)A) in the case.

“Mr Chief Minister, you have demolished several madrassas for carrying out alleged jehadi activities. Now, will you not take strong action against Maharishi Vidya Mandir School for the arms camp? Will this discriminatory action not create hatred in people’s minds against the government?” he asked.

The Raijor Dal has also filed a complaint against the Rashtriya Bajrang Dal at Nalbari Police Station for organising the arms camp.

On Tuesday, Leader of the Opposition in Assam Assembly Debabrata Saikia of Congress had written to the chief minister, demanding action against the organisers and an enquiry into the role of the district administration.

The CPI(M) had said the police should investigate how Rashtriya Bajrang Dal could freely use firearms.

“Threat to the peace and harmony in the state is a matter of great concern. Such incidents have increased since the BJP came to power and the CM, who has often attempted to thwart protests by opposition parties, is silent on such blatant communal activities by the Rashtriya Bajrang Dal,” CPI(M) Assam State Secretary Suprakash Talukdar had said.

Water Resources Minister Pijush Hazarika had said that the police have taken the matter seriously and are taking necessary steps.

Agriculture Minister Atul Bora had said the incident was a matter of serious concern, and “the law will take its own course”.

Tourism Minister Jayanta Malla Baruah, however, had said that training was being given at the camp for self-defence.

“There is nothing wrong in it,” he had said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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