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Hindu suicide squads to counter "Islamic" terrorism

A retired army officer along with a co-worker was arrested on November 15 on charge of forming a Hindu suicide squad and using unlicensed pistols in the Thane district of the western Indian state of Maharashtra.

The man behind the suicide squad, Lt. Col. (retd.) Jayant Chitale, who is the owner of Pune-based Maharashtra Military Force (MMF), an institute imparting military training to young Hindus, was freed along with the instructor of the institute Sanjeev Atre after each of the two furnished a bond of Rs 15,000. 

Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh ordered the police to investigate the matter after media reports about a camp being run at Ambarnath village in Thane district for training youngsters for suicide attacks. 

At the Ambarnath camp, 45 young Hindus between the age of 16-29 underwent commando training and signed bonds that they would lay their lives for the country during a fortnight-long training programme.

Chitale said that these youths would be given "super" commando training after the first phase. They learn how to use rifles, machine guns and bombs. "We will wait for a year to see the fate of terrorism, if it does not decline, we will write to the Central Government to send our boys to launch attacks," Chitale added. He is determined to form more such squads.

Some of the boys in the suicide squad are students and some are employed. Bhusan Vaid, a first year BA student said that he was always attracted to warfare and his family was supporting his decision to join the squad. 

Chitale said that he trained and "brainwashed" 1,500 youths and 600 of them were serving in the armed forces. He wanted to use these people against the "enemy country."

After a fortnight of training the commandos get permission for setting up a branch of MMF. Their credentials are checked in order to put a check on the misuse of training given to them, said Gulabrao Jadhav, MMF’s chief commandant. 

Earlier, Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray had given a call to his cadres to form Hindu suicide squads to counter Muslim militancy. Thackeray gave his call in October during his annual address at a rally on the occasion of the Hindu festival, Dussehra.

Shiv Sena has, however, denied any link with Chitale’s MMF. Sena leader Raj Thackeray said, "They may be inspired by Balasaheb’s (a nick given to Bal Thackeray) speech, but neither this project nor the people have any connection with the Shiv Sena." Chitale has also denied any link with Thackeray or Shiv Sena.

Some people are terming the entire episode as a publicity stunt. A police officer said that the entire issue was a result of media hype. He said that the participants at the Badlapur camp were given combat training to join Indian army and they were charged Rs 1,500 as fee by each of them.

Chitale has political ambitions. He has been twice defeated in civic polls. A senior minister said that Chitale wanted to cash in on the anti-Pakistan sentiment and was trying to be benefited from the call given by Thackeray.

¯ MG News Desk 

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