Rape, Right-wing Protests and Pulping of book Overshadow Valentine's Day in India

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By Johnlee Varghese | February 16, 2014 12:10 AM EST

Activists of Bajrang Dal burn greeting cards shout slogans during protest against Valentine's Day celebrations in Bhopal/Reuters File
Activists of Bajrang Dal burn greeting cards shout slogans during protest against Valentine's Day celebrations in Bhopal/Reuters File

Valentine's Day celebration in India was marred by reports of the rape of a minor girl in the Indian capital city. There were also incidents of attacks on couples by Right-wing groups that consider the idea of aping the 'western concept' of Valentine's Day a slur on Indian culture.

As per a report in PTI, a 17-year old girl was raped by a youth, who made the young girl skip school and took her out, instead to celebrate Valentine's Day.

The girl, who also happened to be celebrating her birthday, went along with the accused, to his friend's place. As per the police, the accused raped her repeatedly, till her condition deteriorated, following which he along with his friends took her to hospital. The accused then fled the scene.

A case has been registered against him for rape under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, police said.
In another incident on the Valentine's Day in Ahmedabad in Gujarat, the Right-wing activists, belonging to Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), threw rotten tomatoes at couples celebrating Valentine’s Day. However, no police case has been registered.

Such an incident, however, is not happening for the first time as now it has become a regular yearly practice, wherein Right-wing fanatics attack and vandalize shops selling Valentine's Day cards and other gift items as well as restaurants and hotels that organize parties for young lovers.

In most cases, the authorities simply look the other way, indirectly emboldening the vandals.

Valentine's Day in India this year, however, has more prominently been over-shadowed by the withdrawal of American academic Wendy Doniger's eminently readable book The Hindus: An Alternative History by Penguin India. It is being seen as the biggest defeat of the largest democracy in the world, where there has been a growing intolerance towards freedom of speech.

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(Photo: /Reuters / )
Activists of Bajrang Dal burn greeting cards shout slogans during protest against Valentine's Day celebrations in Bhopal/Reuters File
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