Let love be free

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Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) has always been known for disrupting Valentine’s Day celebrations, but the outfit’s International Working President Pravin Togadia has said that this year there won’t be any protests and violence. VHP and Bajrang Dal have been known for adopting an aggressive stance against Valentine’s Day celebrations! Earlier both these outfits had termed Valentine’s Day as “anti-Hindu” and “anti-Indian” and had demanded a ban on it. Why has Togadia softened his stand against Valentine’s Day celebrations? Is it because VHP has realised that people have started disapproving their move to disrupt Valentine’s Day celebrations? While addressing VHP and Bajrang Dal supporters, Togadia had said, “Marriages won’t exist if couples don’t fall in love. World’s progress will come to a halt if there are no marriages. Young men and women have the right to love and they should get this right.”

Bajrang Dal member Lalit Paliwal said that in recent times a large part of citizens have been opposing the outfit’s campaigns, hence, now we have to rethink before organising any such. He said, “Every year Bajrang Dal have been organising campaigns for the welfare of citizens, country and Hindu religion, but this year we have not received any directives from the outfit. Hindu religion doesn’t support Valentine’s Day celebrations.”

“Couples sit in parks and indulge in indecent activities; hence, we oppose such happenings. It’s true that we can’t enforce on our youth what is right or wrong, but they should understand the principle of Hindu religion. However we have few plans for February 14; we can’t disclose that totally and we will be visiting Dream Park in Kandivali,” he added.

Even Shiv Sena too had been known for targeting couples on Valentine’s Day. However, this time the party is not keen to organise any protest on this day. The party has softened its stand after Aditya Thackeray became the President of Yuva Sena. Sena wants to keep its youth voters happy; hence, it is not organising any anti-Valentine Day campaign.

Shiv Sena MLA Prakash Surve said that nobody should be deprived of love and everyone should be blessed with it. “It would be much better that if youngsters celebrate Valentine’s Day with their parents and respect them. All these orthodox mentalities are outdated; we belong to 21st century and as society around us is undergoing transformation and we should adapt the changes too,” he said.

When asked about Shiv Sena’s change of stand pertaining to Valentine’s Day celebrations he said, “We can’t force youth on both emotional and work front. Love and encouragement will help youth for better development in future. We should believe in the chant pertaining to “Give love and get love.”

Last year VHP and Bajrang Dal activists had warned couples of performing their marriage if they were found wandering parks and other public places. They also had burnt Valentine’s Day cards. Few years back, they had thrown tomatoes on couples celebrating Valentine’s Day at Ahmedabad. These outfits had then said that there was nothing wrong with imbibing positive aspects of western culture but they disapproved of obscenity in the name of westernisation.

Congress MLA Arif Naseem Khan said that VHP and Bajrang Dal are failing at public front as they have always maintained their strategy of working against the expectation of masses. He said, “In last few years we had heard about reports pertaining to attacks on couple and activists vandalising clubs and restaurants during Valentine’s Day celebrations. Now, they have come out for support.”

He said that these outfits have realised that people have always opposed their campaigns. “They don’t have a firm strategy but just to sensationalise a topic they rake up this issue. All communal parties like BJP, RSS, Bajrang Dal tries to encroach on human rights and they try to maintain their dictatorship and people disapprove of that. May be with this decision they are trying to become liberal and gain citizens’ support,” he added.

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