Trishul Distribution Immediately
of PUCL, Rajasthan
After the successful
victory of the VHP brand of the BJP in Gujarat the next target is Rajasthan.
Facts related to distribution of trishuls not only show that after the
carnage in Gujarat in 2002 more than six thousand trishuls were distributed
in the State but after the victory in Gujarat the pace of arming people
has increased. In less than thirty five days of the year 2003 more than
2600 people were armed with trishuls. In the next twenty days, nine
ceremonies have been planned which are expected to arm about five thousand
people with more than a thousand only in Dausa district.
The VHP was
earlier moving with a strategy of arming people in those areas which
have competitive communalism like Ajmer. All three religions the Hindus,
Muslims and the Christians have a strong presence in this region and
have been competing with each other for more than seventy five years.
The VHP also selected areas where the RSS or Banvasi Kalyan Parshad
have had a base for many years like in the districts of southern Rajasthan
or the districts of Kota, Baran in East Rajasthan. The VHP also moved
with trishuls after a riot happened in order to assert hindutva by arming
a group of hindus. But now it has decided to spread its net of trishuls
in the entire State. This year, it is moving westwards to areas like
Sikar, Nagaur and Bikaner where the hindutva forces are weak. Todate
trishul distribution has happened in 13 districts of the States but
in the next twenty days they will have moved to four new districts and
subsequently the rest of the State.
While the VHP
states that more than seventy thousand trishuls have been distributed
in last five years, according to Government sources the distribution
totals to about ten thousand since 1998 till February, 2003. In the
first week of February during the distribution ceremony in Sikar district,
the VHP announced that they would arm 3 lac people in the State and
only in Alwar and the Meo belt they would be arming a lac people. The
VHP is known for its exaggerated statements but they cannot be ignored
anymore as 2003 is the election year in the State and the Ayodhya movement
is simmering again in the country. With little or no presence or opposition
by Congress cadres at the grassroots, the NGOs having not woken up with
a strategy to counter the VHP initiative of distributing Trishuls and
the Government not taking any legal action against, the VHP may try
to repeat in Gujarat in Rajasthanas an act of desperation.
need is bringing the trishul under the Arms Act in Rajasthan and prevent
any further distribution of this arm in the State.
of the trishul programme in the state
Facts of the last five years show that the VHP launched its programme
of trishul distribution in 1998 targeting the districts of Rajsamand
and Kishangarh and Ajmer, where 304 trishuls were distributed. In the
year1999 only Tonk district was a target where 27 trishuls were distributed.
In year 2000 there were no distribution of trishuls. In 2001 about 1126
trishuls were distributed in the five districts of Ajmer, Bhilwara,
Udaipur, Chittorgarh and Banswara with more than 800 trishuls distributed
only in Ajmer and 195 in Bhilwara. It is the year 2002 which has sent
alarm bells ringing through the State where in only one day in October
more than 2000 trishuls were distributed in Jhalarapatan in Jhalawar.
In the month of December, when all eyes were glued to Gujarat, Togadia
and other senior VHP leaders distributed 2580 trishuls in Rajasthan.
The break up of this distribution was as follows: 300 in Chittor on
7th Dec., 1100 in Sawai Madhopur on 14th Dec, 580 in Jaipur on 15th
Dec and 600 in Bharatpur on 16th Dec.
in Rajasthan become particularly alarming when viewed in the light of
the Gujarat experience. It may be recalled that the regions where trishuls
were distributed in large numbers in Gujarat saw the worst killings.
The year 2002 saw 21 incidents of communal violence and riots in Rajasthan
as compared to 5 in the earlier year. The timing and selection of place
by VHP for trishul distribution in 2001 & 2002 has had a relationship
with communal incidents/ tensions in the area.
Gangapur city ( Sawai Madhopur) is an example where in the wake of Godhra
in 2002 March three persons were killed in police firing when a big
crowd of people prevented the tazia processions during Muharram from
being taken out in the city. Both the BJP and the VHP have periodically
being holding programmes of spreading hate and finally on the 14th of
December 1100 trishuls were distributed. Togadia himself came to distribute
these trishuls and in his hate speech declared that now that the hindus
had been armed the muslims could be taught a lesson.
2001, Togadia himself undertook the journey to Asind in Bhilwara to
distribute trishuls and honour the youth who broke the Kalindri masjid
in the Sawai Bhoj premises at Asind. About 150 trishuls were distributed
to young village youth from closeby areas. Following the US attack on
Afghanistan the poor mulsims of that area were called Osama Bin Laden
supporters in a public meeting of Sadhvi Rithambara at Asind. Towards
end December Daulatgarh, a village in the vicinity of Asind had its
first communal tension where fingers were pointed at muslims that had
were associated with Bin Laden. According to the villagers the young
men who returned after the trishul ceremony spread hate against the
muslims in the village.
the 5th of April, 2001 a big trishul distribution ceremony took place
on Muharram on the outskirts of Beawar. In less than a week's time an
altercation happened between villagers and the administration over the
construction of a masjid few kms. outside Beawar. Capitalising on this
incident on the 16th of April, 2001 a serious incident of communal violence
took place when a VHP rally pouting hate speech right at the entrance
of a muslim mohalla was attacked resulting in loot, arson and injuring
That the eyes
of the VHP is on the dalits can be clearly seen through the trishul
distribution event in Phagi, Jaipur district, held on the 5th of January,
2002. It was organised to crush the emergence of the dalit identity
in the area who were demanding rights to equal citizenship after the
Chakwara incident of dalits being prevented bathing rights in the village
pond. The banners pasted all over the pandaal said "all hindus
are one". The VHP tried killing two birds with one stone, they
not only made the "untouchables" feel important that day but
the Manuwadi hindu big brothers armed them, a right traditionally not
possessed by them. It may be recalled that in Gujarat the VHP army were
the trishul under the arms act
To prevent Gujarat
from being repeated one of the immediate tasks needed is to prevent
people the arming of people. There is an urgent need to ban trishul
distribution in the state. Madhya Pradesh government has shown the way
by proscribing the VHP trishuls under the Arms Act. The Rajasthan government
just needs to include by a notification trishuls in the list of weapons
under the relevant provision of the Act. At present, the VHP trishuls
defy the Arms Act on just a technical count. The Arms Act, as in force,
proscribes a weapon with a sharp blade of 10.5 cms length. Though the
VHP trishul has a blade length of 13.5 cms, the sharpened part has been
deliberately kept slightly shorter with a length of 8 cms only. But
this is just an eyewash as the remainder can be sharpened anytime by
the neighbourhood blacksmith at the behest of the person holding the
trishul. Hence a fresh notification is required to bring these trishuls
under the ambit of the Arms Act. The sooner this is done the better.
The traditional trishul displayed in temples could be excluded from
this as two of its arms are blunt and turned sideways and the middle
arm is pointed but not sharp.
It may be recalled
that Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot urged the Prime Minister
to restrain the VHP from distributing trishuls as the resultant panic
among muslims would polarise the communal situation in the state. Also,
any violence that this would generate would merely push the muslims
to the arms of fundamentalists and possibly Pakistan in this border
state. It is therefore that an urgent action needs to be taken in this
The PUCL team
was unable to get information as to where these trishuls are being manufactured.
Officials in Rajasthan have informed us that they are not manufactured
in the State and they come from outside. Finding the location of factories
is important in the long run.
Union for Civil Liberties appeals to all groups and citizens to help
put pressure on the Government and get the trishul proscribed under
the arms act by bringing in a fresh notification.
& Prem Krishna Sharma
For More Information
for Civil Liberties, Rajasthan
49, Vivek Nagar, Station Road, Jaipur-302006
(Prem Krishna Sharma) , 2591408, 2706483 ( Kavita Srivastava) e.mail: