New Delhi: Fringe group Hindu Raksha Dal has claimed responsibility for the violence that took place on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus Sunday night. The group’s leader, Bhupendra Tomar, better known as Pinky Chaudhary, owned up to the attack in a two-minute-long video posted on Twitter Tuesday.
Chaudhary’s admission came even as a political blame game continues over the violence and students from ABVP and Left organisations are accusing each other of the attack.
“JNU is a hub of communists and we won’t tolerate this. They abuse our religion and our country. Their attitude towards our religion is anti-national. In future, too, we will take the same action in other universities if someone tries to indulge in anti-national activities,” Chaudhary can be heard saying in the clip.
A group of masked men, armed with sticks and rods, had attacked students and faculty members of JNU Sunday night and ransacked the university’s property. More than 34 people, including students and teachers, were injured in the attack, with some having to be admitted to hospital.
While the police are verifying Chaudhary’s claims, ThePrint takes a look at what the Hindu Raksha Dal is and who is Pinky Chaudhary.
‘Hindu Raksha Dal fights love jihad, works towards gau raksha’
Hindu Raksha Dal was formed in July 2013 by Chaudhary, and has more than 1 lakh registered members, mainly in Delhi-NCR, said its spokesperson Sanket Katara.
Katara told ThePrint that Hindu Raksha Dal fights against “love jihad”, works towards gau raksha (cow protection) and other “Hindu issues”.
“We save Hindu girls who fall into the love jihad trap,” he said.
In January 2014, the group was accused of vandalising Aam Aadmi Party’s Kaushambi office after advocate Prashant Bhushan (who was an AAP member at the time) said there should be a referendum over deployment of the Army in Kashmir and their use of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).
The Ghaziabad police had arrested Chaudhary and many others in connection with the incident.
Following the arrest, close to 35 members of the outfit had protested outside the Indirapuram police station.
When asked about the events that unfolded in JNU, Katara, however, claimed responsibility only for violence that took place outside the university’s gates after 7 pm Sunday.
He said the group had nothing to do with the attacks inside the campus between 5.30 pm and 7 pm. “We got swayed by our emotions and could not bear the slogans being raised…which were against India and a bid to break the country.”
ThePrint subsequently spoke to both the ABVP and the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and asked if they had any links with the Hindu Raksha Dal. Ashutosh Singh, media in-charge for Delhi ABVP, said, “Neither the ABVP nor RSS has anything to do with the Hindu Raksha Dal.”
Alok Kumar, the international working president of VHP, said he knew about the Hindu Raksha Dal but it has no links with the VHP.
Why Chaudhary left Bajrang Dal
Belonging to Bamnauli village in Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat, 43-year-old Chaudhary has never held any job besides managing the Hindu Raksha Dal.
Prior to forming the outfit, Chaudhary was a member of the Bajrang Dal until 2012 and “focussed on issues related to love jihad and gau raksha”, said Katara.
Shiv Kumar Raghav, president of the New Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh units of Rashtriya Bajrang Dal, confirmed to ThePrint that Chaudhary had been a member for three to four years, and that he worked for the “Hindutva” cause.
The Rashtriya Bajrang Dal was formed out of the Bajrang Dal in March 2018, said Raghav. He also added that Chaudhary was an active member of the Bajrang Dal and wanted “things to happen fast” — one of the reasons why he went on to form his own outfit.
Raghav said the Rashtriya Bajrang Dal and the Hindu Raksha Dal have worked together from time to time.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police has said it is investigating the claims made by the Hindu Raksha Dal on the JNU violence.
Katara, however, said Chaudhary wasn’t afraid of police action against him or the outfit. “If he was, he would not have openly taken responsibility for the incident at JNU. Everybody in the organisation is very proud of him.”