The CIA’s World Factbook calls the RSS a ‘nationalist’ body; also on the list is the Hurriyat Conference under the separatist groups tag.
New Delhi: Sangh affiliates Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal have been classified as militant religious outfits in the recently updated World Factbook, published by the US’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Sources said the move has not gone down well within the saffron outfits and the two are expected to seek legal options to get the tags removed.
The Bajrang Dal confirmed to ThePrint that it was exploring legal options.
“This came to our notice a few days ago. We are consulting experts and seeking legal advice to counter this,” said Manoj Verma, national convenor, Bajrang Dal.
The two organisations have been named as militant religious outfits under the tag ‘Political pressure groups and leaders’. Under the same heading, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), the ideological parent of the ruling BJP, has been classified as a nationalist organisation.
Others on the list include the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, which has been labelled as a separatist group, while the Jamiat Ulema-e Hind (Mahmood Madani) has been deemed a religious organisation.
‘Nationalist, cultural organisations’
Leaders of the Sangh outfits claimed they did not have anything to do with religious fanaticism and that they were just nationalist and cultural organisations.
“Why would any intelligence agency cite our organisations as being militant. Who gave them the right? We have international branches as well but we’ve never troubled anyone. We are nationalists. We will see what can be done to get this right,” said a Bajrang Dal leader.
Leaders in these saffron outfits were also furious that they had been tagged with organisations like the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, which they insist was a separatist organisation.
What’s World Factbook?
The website of the World Factbook says it is an annual publication of the CIA with almanac-style information about the countries of the world.
The Factbook provides a two-to-three-page summary of the demographics, geography, communications, government, economy, and military of 266 US-recognised countries, dependencies, and other areas in the world.
It is prepared by the CIA for the use by US government officials, and its style, format, coverage and content are primarily designed to meet their requirements. However, it is frequently also used as a resource for student papers, websites and non-governmental publications. As a work of the US government, it is in the public domain.