Ex-Bajrang Dal volunteers call for ‘bandhutva, not Hindutva’
We need Bandhutva (brotherhood), not Hindutva.” This slogan posted recently on social media by Sunil Bajilakeri, a former BJP supporter, went viral. Bajilakeri is part of a small but vocal group of disaffected members of the Bajrang Dal and other right-wing Hindu organisations in Karnataka. Having served time in prison, Bajilakeri’s stance against the BJP is grounded in practical reasons.
“For Hindutva activists who get involved in these criminal cases, the reality hits home after they turn 30 and responsibilities pile up at home. Then they find there is nobody around to help them,” he says. “People help just once. And once you have a criminal record, you do not get a job,” he adds. “No karyakarta’s household has improved because of right-wing organisations. It is just the leaders’ houses that have done well,” Praveen Valke, a former Bajrang Dal and Sri Ram Sene volunteer says.
“The young men in the movement do not know anything about the dharma – the Ramayana, Mahabharat, Vedas or Upanishad. We have brought in these men and guided them to a path of fighting and violence,” he says. Valke says the modus operandi of most right-wing groups under the banner of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad today is akin to “pinching children to make them cry and then consoling them.” Having faithfully worked for these organisations for several years, these members are tired of seeing other outsiders reap the benefits….