Hindus attack Valentine's Day

2015-02-15 06:15
Activists of Hindu right-winged Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), or World Hindu Council, shouts slogans and burn an effigy representing the Uttar Pradesh state government during a protest in Jammu, India. (File, AP)

Activists of Hindu right-winged Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), or World Hindu Council, shouts slogans and burn an effigy representing the Uttar Pradesh state government during a protest in Jammu, India. (File, AP)

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New Delhi - Fringe Hindu nationalist groups across India tried to prevent unmarried couples from celebrating Valentine's Day on Saturday by burning greeting cards, attacking malls and holding protests.

The holiday has become popular in India over the past two decades with shops selling romantic cards, heart-shaped balloons, cuddly toys and other gifts, while flower sellers do brisk business.

But the day has also seen annual protests by Hindu hardliners who say the celebrations threaten Indian culture and social norms.

Motorbike-riding members of the Bajrang Dal organization zipped up and down roads in the northern town of Kanpur on Saturday waving saffron flags and harassing young couples, including some who were married, Headlines Today news channel reported.

In the southern city of Hyderabad, at least 50 Bajrang Dal activists were arrested for burning effigies to protest Valentine's Day celebrations, India Today online reported.

Police in the eastern city of Bhubaneshwar detained Hindu activists for vandalising shops in a mall. In the northern town of Jammu, greeting cards were burnt at a rally.

In the capital New Delhi, another Hindu outfit, the Hindu Mahasabha had said it would forcibly marry couples found celebrating Valentine's Day.

Police detained a group of students when they staged a protest outside the organization's office. Some of the students were dressed as brides and grooms and they waved placards that said "Will you marry me?" and "Fall in love, not in line."

"This is not about defending the right to celebrate Valentine's Day, but about creatively fighting against forces that seek to undermine our rights to love, to choose, to move and to occupy public spaces," Laxmi Bai, an organizer of the protest said.

Read more on:    india  |  religion

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