February 08, 2017

India - Assembly elections 2017: ‘Trump Army’ campaigns for Hindutva in Uttar Pradesh


‘Trump Army’ campaigns for Hindutva in Uttar Pradesh

The Newspaper's Correspondent — Updated Feb 05, 2017 11:09am

NEW DELHI: A self-styled Trump Sena (Trump Army) has been raised by young Hindutva groups in India’s western Uttar Pradesh region to intimidate Muslims and Christians and support Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), in assembly elections due this month, reports said on Saturday.

The Indian Express said the group has been inspired by US President Donald Trump’s decision to bar immigration from Muslim countries said to be harbouring terrorists.

The Trump Army showed its first support at BJP President Amit Shah’s rally at Pilkuwa, Hapur, on Friday. Pilkuwa falls under Dhaulana assembly seat in Hapur district from where BJP has fielded its four-time MP, Dr Ramesh Chand Tomar.

Widespread anti-Muslim violence polarised general elections in 2014 in Uttar Pradesh, which saw Mr Modi sweeping the state with 70-plus seats out of its 80. The assembly elections have been so far shorn of communal violence although Hindutva groups have been vocal about controversial issues like a proposed temple in Ayodhya and cow slaughter.

Many rightwing Hindus in India and the United States supported Mr Trump’s election bid saying they were impressed by his anti-Muslim election rhetoric. The Trump Army accuses Muslims in western Uttar Pradesh of plotting an en masse Hindu emigration from the region, which has never been independently verified.

“Trump Sena has been formed to end atrocities being committed on Hindus in western UP,” the Express quoted the group as saying.

“Hindus are being forced to leave their properties behind and migrate. We are inspired by what US President Donald Trump is doing. We also support Yogi Adityanath for giving a call to end migration of Hindus from western UP. We understand Dr Ramesh Chand Tomar’s concerns how demography of assembly segments in western UP is being systematically changed to suppress Hindu community. Therefore Trump Sena has been formed to stop all this.”

The group said Trump Sena volunteers would pan out in the entire state starting from western UP and assure Hindus that they were with them.

“Anyone getting threats from anyone to migrate can contact us. We will stand behind them and given them full protection. A lot of youths are joining us every day and soon we will become a formidable force and not let atrocities committed on Hindus. We will mobilise youths and also start campaign against ‘love jihad’,” the group said.

It said since Muslim clerics can issue fatwas to support Muslim candidates, the Trump Army would also ask people to support BJP and Hindu candidates.

Published in Dawn February 5th, 2017