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Rajasthan bans trishuls, but VHP is defiant

Kamla Rajendra Bora in Jaipur | April 08, 2003 21:20 IST

After dilly-dallying for months, the Rajasthan government on Tuesday banned the distribution of trishuls (tridents) in the state, but a defiant Vishwa Hindu Parishad said it would not stop its trishul-deeksha (initiation) programmes.

The government issued a notification under the Arms Act without actually naming the trishul, considered the weapon of Lord Shiva. The notification simply said 'distribution, keeping, and carrying of sharp, pointed and two- or multi-bladed weapons' was banned.

It, however, clarified that the order would not affect the use of trishuls in religious places and functions.

Reacting sharply, a VHP spokesman termed the notification a "confrontation with the religious faith of Hindus by the Congress government" and dared it to take action, saying its programmes of distributing tridents to its workers and Bajrang Dal activists would continue.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot told reporters in Bhilwara district, where the VHP is active in organising the deeksha functions, that his government considers the trident a weapon distributed to create communal disharmony.

The government had announced in the recently concluded budget session of the state assembly that it would take concrete steps soon to curb the distribution of tridents.

The VHP, however, insisted that there was no instance of the trishul being used as a weapon at any time anywhere in the state.

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