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Bajrang Dal -- first communal shot
Bajrang Dal cadres being trained as marksmen

Considering the kind of anti-Muslim sentiments that pervade these camps, the Far Right organisation's intentions couldn't be clearer, reports Prerna from Lucknow

Under a nation-wide programme, the extreme Rightwing of the Sangh Parivar - the Bajrang Dal - has been training its cadres in marksmanship with the use of air guns.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has specifically stated that although real guns were not used in the induction stages, it has all the intentions of doing so later.

"This is part of our drill to ensure the protection of our country from both internal and external dangers", the Uttar Pradesh convener of the Bajrang Dal, Awadh Behari Mishra said. The target number of cadres to be trained from the state has been set at a very high 1,000,000. Those who know about the activities of the Bajrang Dal in Uttar Pradesh feel the figure was unrealistic.

Those who can prove their shooting skills will be picked for advanced courses. The Bajrang Dal organizers are not hiding anything about their programme. Their leaders had earlier even been quoted as saying, "When we start training with real guns we will make an announcement about it."

Such programmes have already been carried out at different places in the state, including Varanasi, Mathura, Meerut and Ayodhya. Last year's Ayodhya camp was held at Karsewakpuram, the hub of the Ram Temple construction activity.

Authorities have shown little concern about these camps and no steps have been taken to stop them. They say there is no ban on air guns in public places

The Opposition has questioned these programmes, describing them as "sinister", especially as there was a pronounced anti-Muslim feeling in those camps. There is hardly any doubt that the Bajrang Dal leaders were talking in terms of the Inter Services intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan and the Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) as their targets.

There has also been criticism that these programmes were being held in the open and one false step in a surcharged atmosphere could lead to serious trouble.

Authorities have shown little concern about these camps and no steps have been taken to stop them. They say there is no ban on air guns in public places. Above all, with a Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in the state nobody could dare question the activities of the VHP and its associates (

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