Aiming to ‘support’ the Indian army in Jammu and Kashmir, the Jan Sena, a Kanpur-based religious organisation, has announced plans to confront stone-pelters in Kashmir, by training a stone-pelter squad of its own. Under the leadership of its founder, Balyogi Arun Puri Chaitanya Maharaj, the group had amassed some 1,000 Hindu priests by May 7, 2017, the scheduled date for its journey to the northern-most state. A report by Greater Kashmir also stated that a large number of civilians and Muslims had joined this squad.
The squad’s goal appears to be fighting fire with fire, and to “teach Kashmiri extremists a lesson in their own language”, as Puri says, in an India Today report. Taking up the mantle of nationalism, Jan Sena members and affiliates have undergone stone-pelting training in order to combat the ‘anti-national’ elements in Kashmir. But it’s also hoping to hit two birds with one stone, so to speak.
In his own words, Puri explains that the Jan Sena squad was constituted “for boosting the morale of jawans and helping them take on stone-pelters.” This elaborate plan is being executed, in part, as a response to the beheading of two Indian soldiers – Naib Subedar Paramjit Singh and BSF head constable Prem Sagar – by a Pakistani Border Action Team. The incident took place in Krishna Ghati, on May 1, 2017. For the Jan Sena, this incident and the stone-pelting in Kashmir ‘harm India’s unity’, and the squad has elected to take matters into its own hands.
The group has, however, run into a roadblock early on. Speaking to the Hindustan Times, he says: “We sought permission from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow us into Kashmir […] but did not get it. The district administration also denied us permission.”
Despite this, the squad has shown no intention of halting its plans. Having arranged for 100 cars and three buses, they are expected to arrive in Kashmir on May 14, 2017. Of this, a special 500-person contingent will be sent to Krishna Ghati, the site of the May 1 beheading.
Image used for representative purposes only.