February 2006 News

Dukhtaran activists raid restaurants

14 February 2006
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

Srinagar: The right wing women's outfit Dukhtaran-e-Millat on Tuesday raided a number of restaurants and gift shops in Srinagar to stop young boys and girls from celebrating Valentine's Day. However, many couples were seen having a good time at a few places. Witnesses said Dukhtaran activists, in some places, set fire to a large number of cards and gifts to protest against such 'imitations of Western lifestyles.' Police chased away the activists. The DeM led by Asiya Andrabi started its campaign on Friday with a protest demonstration in Lal Chowk asking the Kashmiri youths not to celebrate the day, a practice it said was un-Islamic. Ms. Andrabi told The Hindu that her activists visited Kashmir University to see that not a single couple celebrated. 'Thank God there was no celebration in the university. The authorities at the university assured us that no celebration is taking place. We believe no western festivals which promote 'obscenity' and 'vulgarity' are celebrated here on our land,' she said. However, reports said a number of couples were out, having fun, away from the eyes of Dukhtaran activists. 'We did not bother about them. We enjoyed a lot,' said a couple at Boulevard Road near Dal Lake. Couples roughed up PTI, UNI report: Shiv Sena activists on Monday roughed up couples, raided hotels and set afire hundreds of Valentine cards to protest against the celebration of the day here. Over 200 Shiv Sainiks assembled at Panjtirthi chowk and set afire the cards seized from different shops in the city. Amid anti-Valentine Day and anti-West slogans, Sainiks took out a rally and later raided hotels. They also beat up some boys and girls. Police intervened and brought the situation under control. In Nagpur, 20 Bajrang Dal activists were detained when they tried to commit nuisance at the Law College Square during Valentine's Day celebrations. Eight Shiv Sena activists, including a woman, were allegedly arrested for damaging a heart shape flower decoration outside a mall in Mumbai to protest against the celebrations. The saffron colour flag-wielding Sainiks raised slogans and warned against the celebrations. Sena chief Bal Thackeray has called upon his followers to continue their protest against the celebrations which, he claimed, was against Hindu culture. At least three Shiv Sena activists were detained in Pune for burning Valentine's Day cards near the Fergusson College. Sena leader Sagar Shinde, who led the group, said the activists were detained for burning cards, flowers and violating the prohibitory orders. In Jaipur, Students burnt an effigy outside the main gate of Rajasthan University and blocked entry into the institution until the police arrived. Forty- six Shiv Sainiks were arrested in Indore for protesting against the celebrations. The Sainiks gathered at the Regal Squrare and, after offering prayers to 'Bharatmata,' tried to proceed to several places in the city to do moral policing, but police foiled their plans and arrested them. The activists set on fire an effigy of Saint Valentine and tore Valentine's Day cards at Rajwada, police said.


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