A police complaint has been filed against several persons, including a Bharatiya Janata Party MLA and MLC, in connection with an “arms training camp” held in Karnataka’s Kodagu district.
The complaint was filed by the Social Democratic Party of India, the political wing of the Popular Front of India. Those named in the complaint also include members of the Bajrang Dal, which had organised the camp.
Images of the event had gone viral on social media and showed youngsters with guns and tridents.
The event was held from May 5 to May 11 at the Sai Shankar Educational Institution in Ponnampet in the Kodagu district, according to The Hindu.
Superintendent of Police MA Aiyappa said that event was held without taking permission from the authorities , The Indian Express reported.
He, however, said that no police complaint had been filed and that they had received information about the event through social media. “The Bajrang Dal and the Vishva Hindu Parishad organise such camps every year,” Aiyappa added.
Vedhamurthy, the deputy director of public instruction in the district, said that a notice has been issued to the school authorities, who have been asked to explain how the event was conducted without approval.
“Neither they [organisers] approached us for permission, nor we gave them any,” Vedhamurthy said. “Usually workshops are held in schools and colleges, but not to such an extent as to teach shooting.”
Meanwhile, the regional convener of the Bajrang Dal, Raghu Sakleshpur, said that 116 activists took part in the camp. He also said that airguns were used during the training, for which no permission was required, according to The Indian Express.
“Also, the trishuls [tridents] distributed were not sharp,” he said. “The airgun session was part of self-defence training. We encourage the activists to be involved in Dal’s future activities.”
Raghu Sakleshpura, the south Karnataka convenor for the Bajrang Dal, said that apart from arms training, discussions were held on topics such as “love jihad” and cattle slaughter.
“[We] asked how many cases they had observed in their area and discussed what can be done to counter them,” Sakleshpura told The News Minute.
“Love jihad” is a conspiracy theory espoused by Hindutva supremacists, who allege that it involves Muslim men luring Hindu women to marry them with the intention to convert them to Islam.
However, the Union government had itself told the Lok Sabha in 2019 that no “case of ‘love jihad’ had been reported by any of the central agencies”. The National Commission for Women also does not maintain any data about “love jihad”.