Hindu Mahasabha, a Saffron outfit, has planned to oppose ‘western ways’ of displaying affection on Valentine's Day this Saturday by floating its own traditional equivalent to celebrate the festival of love in the form of Basant Panchami.
"If there is any Hindu festival which comes close to Valentine's Day, it is Basant Panchami when new blooms add a festive hue to the atmosphere and there is a traditional way of celebrating it.
"But, these celebrations are now on the wane and the youth are embracing western traditions," Hindu Mahasabha President Chandra Prakash Kaushik said.
"Our teams consisting of boys and girls carrying white roses or other flowers will visit malls, parks, historical monuments and other places frequented by young couples on
Valentine's Day in major towns and cities in the country," Kaushik told PTI.
The Hindu Mahasabha has chalked out a nationwide strategy to deter youth from displaying their affection in public warning that they could be married off.
"We are not against love as we are the country which has spread love all over the world but we are against the western influence on our society and by offering white flowers we will be spreading the message of peace," he said.
Hindu Front For Justice, a Lucknow-based group working ‘for providing justice to Hindus’ has also opposed Valentine Day celebrations on February 14 saying it has no relevance nor does it suit the Hindu way of life.
"As per the shastra (scriptures), Basant Panchami is the Hindu equivalent to Valentine's Day but we celebrate it with dignity and as per the Hindu dharma and customs," Hari Shankar Jain of the Front said.
Hindu Mahasabha leader Kaushik sees in the hype around Valentine's Day an influence of consumerism and role of business establishments to reap financial gains.
Each year on February 14, many people exchange cards, candies, gifts or flowers with their special 'valentine' on the special day and visit hotels, restaurants and malls to celebrate the occasion.
"Couples who are adults, and insist that they are in love and are serious to take their relationship to the next level must get married and we will facilitate it," he said.
However, those who are not sure about the marriage and are seeing each other for fun will face consequences, he warned. To further push through the agenda of the Hindutva organisations, in case of inter-faith couples, they would be asked to return to Hinduism and prove their love for each other.
"They will be told to give a test of their love and return to the religion of their ancestors who were all Hindus," he said, adding all people in this country were Hindus and they will be welcomed to the original fold.
"If they refuse to do so, it will be a matter of love jihad and it will be proved that they had trapped the other partner under a conspiracy," he said.
In such cases, marriage will be conducted after a proper "shuddhikaran (purification ritual)," he said. Meanwhile, the UP police has issued necessary instructions to maintain law and order in important cities and urban areas by deploying additional force at malls, parks and cinema halls.
"Instructions have been issued in this regard to police officials, especially in urban areas, to make necessary deployment of force to ensure that no one is allowed to take the law in his hands," Inspector General (law and order) A Satish Ganesh said.
"Strong action will be taken against offenders and those found harming peace and order," he warned.