MAHESH LANGA, The Financial Express, Wednesday, July 05, 2006 AHMEDABAD, JULY 4:
Nothing wrong with using force to bring back girls who married outside the caste.The Mumbai Police may have submitted a report to the Bombay High Court seeking the arrest of Babu Bajrangi, who is alleged to have forcibly brought back Gujarati girls who married out of caste.
But the Bajrang Dal leader is unfazed. The self-proclaimed ‘saviour’ of Kutch Kadva Patidar caste maintains that he is doing a ‘social service’ for his community and his religion and says he finds nothing wrong with his NGO, Navchetna group, indulging in kidnapping his community’s girls who dare to marry outside the community.
On June 30, Mumbai City Police Deputy Commissioner Anu Bhitre had submitted a report to the Bombay HC alleging that Bajrangi and his NGO workers were kidnapping girls marrying outside their caste, and sought his arrest.
Last year, four Mumbai-based youths had moved the Bombay High Court with a habeas corpus petition, wherein they alleged that Bajrangi’s men had abducted their wives and taken them to their parents in Gujarat.
All the girls belonged to Kutch Kadva Patel caste and had married against their parents’ wishes. Therefore, their parents assigned the task to Bajrangi and his men to bring the girls back.
After the communal riots of 2002, Bajrangi, one of the prime accused in Naroda Patiya massacre, turned to ‘social service’ by setting up the Navchetna Group of Kutch Kadva Patel Samaj. His main task has been to “rescue” Hindu girls who were married to Muslims and Christians and girls from his community who had married outside. Although he faces arrest, he reiterates his commitment to his “cause.”
“I believe that as a social worker, it is my duty to help the people of my community in whichever way I can,” he said, adding: “I am not bothered about what the police has recommended in Maharashtra. And those who ‘lost’ their wives would naturally level allegations of threat and forced divorce.”
He, however, denied the allegations that he indulged in kidnapping and forcing the girls to divorce their husbands who were not from their community. “I have not got any girl kidnapped from either Gujarat or Maharashtra,” he said, adding: “I have just helped bring back some girls who were misled and forced into marriage.”
But at the same time he reiterated his belief that the girls should not marry outside their community. “I am of the belief that Hindu girls should not marry Muslims and Christians and vice versa because we have to stick to our long-held social traditions.”
Bajrangi is president of Kutch Kadva Patidar Samaj and runs an organisation called Navchetna group. He is affiliated with Bajrang Dal and VHP, and is considered politically influential because of his vast following in his community.