No item girls, skirts: BJP silence eggs on Hindu Mahasabha's extremist demands

Lucknow: No skirts as uniform for school girls any more; no jeans and mobile phone for girls; and item girls in films should be branded as prostitutes – Indian society may soon have its equivalent of the Taliban if the Hindu Mahasabha (HMS) has its way.

The Mahasabha is not issuing empty threats. Its leaders are planning a movement against girls wearing skirts as school uniform and other corrupting influences.

Emboldened by the political ascent of the BJP, the fringe Hindutva organizations seem to have become increasingly reckless. After the statement by the general secretary of the Uttar Pradesh unit of the HMS, Navin Tyagi, that “girls sporting short clothes in the item numbers should be tagged as prostitutes,” its leaders are planning to launch a campaign against skirts.

Tyagi had even gone to the extent of demanding a ban on girls wearing jeans and carrying mobile phones even as the national general secretary of the HMS sought to distance himself from the statement. The BJP’s absolute silence on their activities and utterances seem to have served as encouragement for them.

 No item girls, skirts: BJP silence eggs on Hindu Mahasabhas extremist demands

No jeans, no mobile phones.. whatever next? Reuters image

A day after his statement on item girls on a television programme, the media in charge of the Uttar Pradesh unit of the HMS, Kamlesh Tiwari, said the Mahasabha stood behind whatever Tyagi had said.

“The item girls in films and on television are like prostitutes and they should not be honoured or acknowledged with any respect,” he reiterated and went on to say that their campaign against girls wearing jeans was already on in western UP, parts of Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi and would gather momentum in coming days.

“We are against girls wearing skirts as well and our campaign in this regard will start after December 6,” he said.

The HMS also does not hide its disdain for the BJP. “It is a political party and it needs the votes of non-Hindus, including Muslims, to remain in power. Therefore it shall never support issues pertaining to Hindus’ interests,” Tiwari said.

The Hindu Mahasabha, Tiwari said, was ready to go along with anyone – including non-Hindus – who believed in its ideology. It will contest the 2017 assembly election on its own on an unspecified number of seats and will not mind if it got support from any like-minded party. “We do not mind taking the support of any party including the Samajwadi Party if it supports our core values,” he said.

The BJP, on the other hand, is very clear in saying that it has nothing to do with the HMS. “It is a different and autonomous organization and we may either agree, disagree with it or be indifferent to its stand on different issues,” said Amit Puri, a member of the BJP state executive.

The BJP, he took pains to explain, was committed to “the status and opportunity to all citizens of India as enshrined in the Constitution,” and did not agree with what the HMS was saying.

On being asked why the BJP did not come out openly against the HMS leader’s statement, Puri repeated that the BJP was “indifferent” to the statement and thus there was no need to even react to the statement.

The HMS demand and alleged campaign is likely to create a piquant situation for BJP’s Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar and also in western UP, where the strong local khap panchayats too have been in support of such demands for a long time.

The Hindu Mahasabha is a fringe organization of Hinudtva forces which is forever struggling to gain political and social recognition. Most people, even belonging to the Hindu community, identify its name with certain leaders of the freedom struggle and are not even sure if it is functional today.

Its leaders are known for their nuisance value at the local level, and are more active in small towns rather than in Lucknow. The last time they gained notoriety was when its activists issued statements against celebration of Valentine’s Day a couple of years ago.

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Updated Date: Dec 04, 2014 12:41:44 IST