Case filed, 2 held after Bajrang Dal organises arms training camp in Assam

Guwahati: Congress demands action against organisers and inquiry into role of district administration

BY | Wednesday, 2 August, 2023

A case was filed and two people were taken into custody after an arms training camp was organised by Bajrang Dal at a school in Assam’s Darrang district, police said on Monday.

Among those held were the president of the school’s managing committee Hemanta Payeng and a staffer, identified as Ratan Das, they said.

A purported video of the camp where young men were seen being trained with firearms went viral on social media, triggering criticism and outrage.

Bajrang Dal said 350 youths were trained in handling guns and martial arts, besides lessons on arts, politics and spirituality at the camp organised in Mornoi village in the district.

The case was registered at the Mangaldai police station under IPC sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention), police said.

Meanwhile, Payeng also filed a police complaint claiming that one Abhijit Ghosh sought permission from him to organise a yoga camp at the school from July 27, and he came to know that arms training was being given there from the press.

Police said they are interrogating those taken into custody, and also examining all aspects of the complaint filed by Payeng.

Water Resources Minister Pijush Hazarika told reporters that the police have taken the matter seriously and are taking necessary steps.

Agriculture Minister Atul Bora of the AGP said the incident was a matter of serious concern, and “the law will take its own course”.

Tourism Minister Jayanta Malla Baruah, however, said that training was being given at the camp for self-defence.

“There is nothing wrong in it,” he said.

Leader of opposition Debabrata Saikia of the Congress wrote to Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, demanding action against the organisers and an inquiry into the role of the district administration.

“This is not the first time that such camps have been organised, in 2017 also the Bajrang Dal had organised a camp where arms training was imparted and the Congress had protested against it, while in 2019 they again organised similar training programmes in different parts of the state,” he said.

The CPI(M) said the police should investigate how Bajrang Dal could freely use firearms.

CPI(M) state secretary Suprakash Talukdar said, “Threat to the peace and harmony in the state is a matter of great concern.”

“Such incidents have increased since the BJP came to power, and the chief minister who has often attempted to thwart protests by opposition parties is silent on such blatant communal activities by the Bajrang Dal,” he added.

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