Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Monday in the state legislative assembly that the Bajrang Dal is not affiliated with the Bharatiya Janata Party or the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. He was responding to an adjournment motion on arms training during a Bajrang Dal camp in the state earlier this year.
The autumn session of the Assam State Legislative Assembly began on Monday, and it was also the first session to be held in the newly constructed legislative assembly building. Sarma had begged Speaker Biswajit Daimary to approve all adjournment requests, stating that the Opposition MLAs would stage a walkout if their adjournment petitions were not accepted and that he did not want the first session in the building to begin with a walkout.
Aside from the Bajrang Dal’s arms training motion, Speaker Daimary also accepted adjournment motions on electricity supply difficulties in the state and river embankment hazards.
Following the release of a video in July showing young men receiving weapons training in a school in Assam’s Mangaldai town, the Assam police filed an FIR against Bajrang Dal organisers under provisions dealing to inciting enmity between various communities and common aim.
Speaking on the adjournment motion, AIUDF MLA Aminul Islam stated that such an event could not happen without the knowledge of the local authority. “We don’t want to politicise this, but we are bringing it before the assembly because of the kind of environment one organisation is trying to create across the state, The government should tell the assembly that we will never let this happen again,” he said, referring to a similar programme in Assam’s Dhubri that came to light last year.
In response, Sarma indicated that the police had registered an FIR and that the culprits would be charged but added as a “clarification” that the RSS and the BJP “have no even a distant connection with the Rashtriya Bajrang Dal.”
Live: Attending Autumn Session of Assam Legislative Assembly, Dispur https://t.co/XIywn2wMaN
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) September 11, 2023
“And if you want to look a little further ahead, the VHP and Bajrang Dal are two parallel organisations that do different work.” “Our BJP is not a part of that, and neither is the RSS,” he remarked.
He also called the Mangaldai tragedy “one example,” claiming that there are several “examples” on the other side.
“There is one thing that the timing of this training, in different parts of Assam… one particular religion – or through the abuse of one particular religion – the kind of Al Qaeda network that has emerged across the state is concerning.” We have apprehended five Al Qaeda modules on the Indian subcontinent, and four of their Bangladeshi citizens are still at large. As a result of all of this, the incident that occurred in Mangaldai town, what some individuals did – as far as I know, there were no firearms. Furthermore, the cops acted quickly… But I’ve been in the house for quite some time. This is one instance. But there are many examples on the other side,” he said, adding that all parties must address religious dissension from either side.