A controversy has erupted in Karnataka over arms training organised by Bajrang Dal for more than 100 participants at a programme in Madikeri district of the state.
The Opposition has slammed the organising of the militia kind of training camp whereas the ruling BJP leaders maintained that it is the regular training that is being given for self-defence to Bajrang Dal activists.
The training camp was organised from May 5 to 11 in the government school premises of Ponnampet town.
The participants also took part in a procession in the Ponnampet town on May 10.
The photos of the air gun training have gone viral on social media. The Opposition Congress raised the issue and demanded the arrest of BJP and RSS leaders.
The Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and Popular Front of India (PFI) have lodged a complaint in this regard and demanded police action against organising arms training programmes.
The Bajrang Dal, meanwhile, maintained that it had not violated the law and the Arms Act. Air guns and tridents do not come under the act. However, police stated that they are looking into the issue of use of air guns in the open.
Former speaker and BJP leader K.G. Bopaiah said on Tuesday that air gun training has been given in Ponnampet camp.
"No license is required for it. There is a need for gun training for self-defence. The training has been given for a long time," he said.
He also defended the distribution of tridents to participants. "There is no prohibition under law for practicing self-defence with tridents. I don't want to comment on SDPI and PFI. They are against the interests of the nation, they should be banned."
BJP General Secretary and MLA C.T. Ravi claimed that the camp is a part of a self-defence course. "They were not trained in using AK-47 and bombs. Every year, Bajrang Dal trains its activists for self-defence," he underlined.
Sri Ram Sena Founder Pramod Muthalik also defended the camp and said there was nothing wrong in giving training for self-defence.
Opposition party leader Siddaramaiah had stated that "by giving arms training in Madikeri to young members, Bajrang Dal has challenged the law of our land".
"Do we have a Home minister or Education minister in Karnataka? Is the government still alive?" Siddaramaiah questioned.
"MLAs M.P. Appachu, K.G. Bopaiah and Suja Kushalappa participated in the Shaurya Prashikshana Varga event of Bajrang Dal. Do they have any commitment towards our Constitution?" Siddaramaiah asked.
"Arms training is against the law and the Home Minister should file a case against the leaders of Bajrang Dal and arrest them," he said.
Meanwhile, the police have started probe into the matter.
The police have sought a report from the Education Department on whether the school grounds could be used for such an event.
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