05/26/2022, 13.34
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After Texas massacre, New Delhi debates guns, but Bajrang Dal promotes weapons training

by Nirmala Carvalho

Former Finance Minister Chidambaram calls for even stricter regulations in India on sale and possession. While in Karnataka, nationalist right-wing movements promote training camps for boys on guns and the trishul, India's traditional trident. 



New Delhi (AsiaNews) - After the new massacre at a Texas school, laws related to gun ownership are also being debated in India. Raising the issue was Palaniappan Chidambaram, a prominent Congress party member and former finance minister in the New Delhi government. "There are no words," he said, "to condemn the horrific killing of 19 children. The whole world mourns with the American people and the families of the victims.

One way to do this is to impose strict gun controls and severely restrict who can buy or own a gun. American laws are too lenient in this regard, but India should also review and tighten these regulations. As hate speech and hate killings thrive, we must use all avenues to prevent this madness from sweeping the entire world." India actually already has fairly restrictive legislation, in this regard, requiring a license, either issued by the central government or by individual states depending on the type of weapon.

However, in Karnataka, a state ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), right-wing organizations are promoting initiatives to teach boys to use guns, knives and trishuls (the traditional Indian tridents). The Bajrang Dal recently conducted a "weapons training" camp with guns and trishuls: it was held in Ponnampet in Kodagu district, about 240 km from Bengaluru, and lasted a week. According to reports in the Hindustan Times, the "camp" was attended by more than 100 people who were given trishuls.

This is not the first time these right-wing groups have held such initiatives in the state; the government has been accused of turning a blind eye to these activities. However, Bajarang Dal delegate for South Karnataka, Raghu Sakleshpur, said the tridents distributed were "only 5.5 inches (14 centimeters ed.) and not even sharp; it is not a weapon but a religious symbol."

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