New Delhi: This
Valentine's Day, couples can snuggle up on park benches and
corners unhassled. Moral brigades who crack down on love-struck
couples on Valentine's have no intention to play spoilsport on Feb
14, an activist of a right wing group said.
One of the reasons behind this change of heart is the bad
reputation they were getting.
Om Dutt Sharma, Shiv Sena's Delhi convenor, told IANS: "Since last
year we are not going in for any kind of demonstration. What is
the use or point of doing such protests. We cannot stop them from
celebrating, and we are getting a bad reputation among them."
"Earlier, we used to object to Valentine's Day celebrations and
tell couples whom we found together to get married, otherwise we
would hand them over to police or parents. But since last year we
have subdued our opposition," Vinod Sharma, a Bajrang Dal
activist, told IANS.
Vinod Sharma said they have no objections to Valentine's Day being
"There will be no protests or demonstrations against it, but at
the same time youngsters should also behave decently. We have
already given instructions through our district offices that no
activists should harass any couple on Feb 14 unnecessarily,"
The moral brigade is known to harass couples and disrupt
celebrations on the ground that Valentine's Day is a Western
concept and against Indian culture.
However, Vijay Bansal of the Viswa Hind Parishad (VHP) said the
group would not encourage the celebrations. They plan to oppose it
in a different way.
"Youngsters and couples should not indulge in immoral behaviour on
Feb 14 at public places like pubs, parks, restaurants and gardens.
We are sending about 50 letters in and around Delhi and National
Capital Region (NCR) to various pubs, restaurants and hotel
managements asking them not to organise any programmes or allow
vulgar dances in their premises," Bansal said.
Apart from pubs and restaurants, the group is sending letters to
educational institutions to request that Valentine's Day events
are not celebrated.
"We will be sending letters to all universities in the national
capital requesting them not to hold Valentine's Day celebrations.
It is a Western concept and against Indian culture," Bansal said.
He also claimed that the right wing outfits have never promoted
"It could have been in demonstrations in previous years.. The
steps we take now are to prevent harassment of women on this day.
Even last year Feb 14, three incidents of harassment of women was
reported in Delhi and NCR areas," added Bansal.
In the past, Hindu radicals kept vigil at parks, restaurants and
other places on the day to prevent couples from getting close, and
also attacked greeting card shops, pubs and gardens to protest the
celebrations, drawing widespread criticism.
Jai Bhagwan Goyal from Rashtrawadi Shiv Sena (RSS) feels that
youngsters are being looted by celebrating Valentine's Day.
"These celebrations are just a gimmick of multi-national
companies, who want to loot money from young consumers in India by
celebrating Valentine's Day. Spending on gift items - right from
cards, flowers, jewellery, chocolates, mobile phones, MP3 players
and wrist watches, people in our country spend lakhs on this
particular day," added Goyal.
According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of
India (Assocham), the expenditure during Valentine's week last
year was a whopping Rs.12,000 crore.