Hyderabad: Protests by Hindu groups and a campaign to educate the youth by some Muslim organisations marked Valentine's Day in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday, as many joined the celebration of love. Activists of various right-wing outfits took out rallies, chased and warned lovers at parks and public places abuzz with enthusiastic couples.
Wearing saffron-colour bands on their foreheads and wielding canes, activists claiming to be members of the Bajrang Dal, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Hindu Vahini, the Sri Ram Sene, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and others disrupted the celebrations in various districts. The outfits claimed to have forcibly "married" a few couples at Moinabad and Gandipet on the outskirts of Hyderabad, at Warangal, Anantapur and Nizamabad districts.
Bajrang Dal leaders alleged that police arrested many of their activists. The outfit's Hyderabad city unit president Bharat Vamshi condemned the arrests. He said they were protesting against the Valentine's Day as it was against the Indian culture. The activists caught hold of lovers in parks and other tourist spots. They detained the boys and girls and left them off only after they promised to desist from participating in such celebrations in future.
The ABVP took out a rally from Nizam College in Hyderabad to protest against the Valentine's Day celebrations. The women's wing of the BJP also staged a protest and burnt effigy of western culture.
The Students Islamic Organisation (SIO), the Muslim Girls Association and some other Muslim organisations in Hyderabad ran a campaign to educate youth against blindly following the western culture.
The SIO observed the day as "chastity day" and tried to educate people, irrespective of their religion, on the dangers of blindly aping the West. Standing at few public places, the members of city unit of SIO displayed placards carrying slogan "Chastity is priceless" and "Let's struggle for cultural independence".
The Muslim Girls Association said it had been running a campaign in the city for the last few days, cautioning youth against the pitfalls of imitating the West.