Donning khaki shorts and white shirts, RSS activists conducted a Vijay Dashmi procession carrying firearms and swords in R S Pura town on the border on Thursday. Ruling BJP MLA Gagan Bhagat, who also participated but did not carry any weapon, justified the action, saying the processionists had valid arms licence with them.
“On Vijay Dashmi, we worship our weapons and then display these as a show of strength in accordance with Hindu traditions and religious belief,” he said. “Someone in the procession offered me his weapon but I refused to hold it as I did not carry a licence.”
The Indian Arms Act prohibits display of weapons by any person, except authorised arms dealers, but they too can display them within their premises. Section 5B of the Act reads: “No person shall expose or display any permitted bore other than licence granted by the District Magistrate to authorised dealer within their premises.”
Violation of this provision can lead to imprisonment of one year and cancellation of the arms licence.
However, the police did not register a case. Station House Officer R S Pura Police Station Bushan Manhas said, “All of them had licences for the weapons and they worship it on the occasion of Vijay Dashmi,” SP Headquarters Randhir Singh denied knowledge of the incident. “I will enquire about it,” he said.
The display of weapons by RSS activists came at a time when Hindus and Muslims in the state look at each other with suspicion in view of the beef controversy.
Sources said the procession started from Devi Dawara temple, where RSS workers worshipped their weapons. Bhagat and another BJP MLA, Sham Choudhary, were present on the occasion. However, Bhagat being an RSS activist participated in the procession later.