Bajrang Dal to launch ‘Balidan Saptah’ to counter V-Day celebrations


AGRA: Right-wing groups are set to disrupt the Valentine’s Day celebrations this year too. Bajrang Dal, which propagated celebrating the day as “matra-pitra diwas” last year is set to launch a week-long “balidan saptah” this year in the memory of martyrs like, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. Vishwa Hindu Parishad activists threatened to drag courting couples to Arya Samaj mandirs for summary marriages.

Bajrang Dal national president Rajesh Pandey said they would not be putting any “restrictions” on couples but would launch the “balidaan saptah” celebrations across the country to wean away youngsters from the “Western influence”. Claiming that the V-Day celebrations were on the wane in all major cities, Pandey said, “Our youth must be nationalist rather than blindly following foreign culture.”

 VHP’s Ajju Chauhan said the activists would be on the lookout for courting couples on V-Day. “We will take all such couple to the nearest Arya Samaj mandir and get them married,” he said, claiming that arrangements to conduct such marriages would be put in place two days before February 14.
 A young couple, on the condition of anonymity, told TOI that such threats from the right-wing groups do make them uncomfortable, but do not deter them from celebrating the festival of love. “From Sunday onwards, I’d give her a gift every single day,” the young college-going boy said.

Mridula Bawai, owner of Hallmark Anugraha at Sanjay Place, said arrangements are already in place for Feb 14 and the week preceding that. “Celebrations would start from Sunday, the Rose Day, and we are stocking gifts for each and every day,” she said, adding that business grows around this time every year.

Pankaj Agarwal, owner of Vatica flower shop at Sanjay Place, said orders for roses have already gone up by 50% and would go even higher in the coming days. “Chocolate bouquet is likely to be a hit this season,” Agarwal added.