Bajrang Dal Accused Of Giving Firearms Training In BJP MLA-Owned School; Police Refutes Claim
The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), an NGO, last week had alleged that an arms training was organised by Bajrang Dal at a school in Mira Road, Mumbai. They approached the Thane (Rural) police with photographs that were floating on Facebook. DYFI claimed that these images were taken at Seven Square Academy owned by BJP legislator Narendra Mehta.
However, the police after investigations have revealed that the pictures circulated were that of some other location and the scare was baseless.
DYFI had filed a complaint after noticing images posted by a certain Prashant Gupta, reportedly a Bajrang Dal Karyakarta. The DYFI claimed that the pictures were taken at BJP MLA Narendra Mehta-owned Seven Eleven Academy which was rented to Bajrang Dal for this event.
The pictures showed young men using rifles aiming at burning objects. There was also a selfie of two men holding arms with few other firearms lying around them.
While speaking to NDTV, DYFI member Sadiq Badshah said, “What kind of danger are they trying to avert in this country by holding arms-training camps? This is just an attempt to brainwash the youth and create an environment of fear against the members of a specific community.” He further added that they would file a complaint against Mehta and school authorities on ‘charges of creating tension between communities’. A march was also held on June 1, with the demand that ‘the authorities should clamp down on events intended to create divisions in society’.
Responding to the allegations, MLA Mehta said that the school campus was rented out during vacations to Bajrang Dal, however, the pictures were not from the event.
VHP Karyakarta Sunil Acharya, who organised the camp also refuted the claim saying that the pictures were from training camps organised in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar earlier. “We do not train young men to firearms in Maharashtra,” he added.
“Pictures Not Taken At Camp”: Police
Atul Kulkarni, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Bhayander) said that the pictures were not taken at the camp. “We know that the participants at the camp were taught to fire air guns. Since it was a private event, they did not need to inform or take permission from us,” he added. No offence has been registered so far.
DYFI’s Sanjay Pandey said that police might be under pressure to not take any action against Mehta as he is believed to be close to Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis.