Wednesday, June 01, 2005

More Trishul Diksha programmes planned in Orissa

Encouraged by Naveen Patnaik administration's u-turn on the issue, the VHP-Bajrang Dal combine is now reportedly planning more 'Trishul Diksha' programmes in the state.

The two Sangh Parivar members launched their programme at the coastal town of Nimapara in Puri district last week with distribution of 'Trishuls' to nearly 400 youths from the state for protection of the Hindu religion.

They are contemplating to begin their second round of the programme in the Assembly constituencies of prominent state Congress leaders. If Sangh Parivar sources are to be believed, a programme will be organised at Anandapur in tribal-dominated Keonjhar district in the last week of June when nearly a thousand youths from the area will be presented with Trishuls. Anandapur is the constituency of PCC president Jayadev Jena.

The Congress-led Opposition in the state has been strongly protesting the VHP Bajrang Dal's decision. "The Hindus do not need Trishul Diksha programmes to protect their religion. This type of communal activity is only aimed at disturbing and destabilishing the society", said leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly and former chief minister J B Patnaik.

The Opposition leaders are also extremely critical of the state administration's "reversal attitude" towards the programme. "The recent statement of chief minister Mr Patnaik on the issue is not only condemnable but also dangerous for the state", said Bijoy Mohapatra, president of the Orissa Gana Parishad (OGP).

Last year, the VHP had planned a Trishul Diksha programme in the state in presence of Praveen Togadia. The programme, however, was cancelled in the last moment because of the hard stand taken by the Naveen Patnaik administration.

But this time, the administration seems to have gone soft on the issue. "We have no knowledge of any law and order problem because of the VHP's programme. If there will be any law and order problem we will definitely take action", the chief minister has said.