Valentine’s Day causes rape, says extremist Hindu group in India — and other Valentine’s-related news

Shiv Sena

Activists of the right-wing Hindu organization the Shiv Sena pose in front of a burning placard during a demonstration denouncing Valentine’s Day in Amritsar, India on Feb. 12, 2013. The Shiv Sena strongly oppose Valentine’s Day celebrations, citing them as a cultural invasion on the Hindu way of life. Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images

VANCOUVER DESI

Valentine’s Day is oftentimes credited with causing a spark. But it’s not always the stereotypical spark we’ve come to expect. Take these three examples of the furor Feb. 14, 2013 is making among certain kinds of groups:

Valentine’s Day encourages rape

Celebrating Valentine’s Day and following Western traditions in general leads to rapes and other sexual assaults. That’s according to right wing Hindu group Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS).

HJS state convener Manoj Solanki said at a press conference in Panaji, India that its members planned to hand out pamphlets at schools, transportation hubs and other gathering places that would demonstrate “the ill-effects of Valentine’s Day.”

“Since the Bharatiya youth is turning towards indulgence by blindly following westerners, it has been noticed that the sale of contraceptives peaks on this day in cities such as Mumbai and Pune,” Solanki said. “This leads to a rise in incidents of rapes and other atrocities.”

Anti-violence against women campaign

Meanwhile, women’s groups in India have seized on the day to raise awareness about violence against women as well – but they’re not blaming Valentine’s for being one of its causes.

“We appeal to women to celebrate love on February 14 by gathering in their cities, towns, colleges and schools and talk about violence against women,” said Sunita Dhar, a director of Jagori, a women’s resource centre..

“We want peace and love, not violence.”

Dhar and Jagori are working with the One Billion Rising campaign this year in support of victims of violence across the world, with people from 160 countries taking part.

“The day will be marked like a world woman’s day,” added activist Aruna Roy.

Consumers are taking it easy

As for the day’s commercial clout, a survey by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) predicts that lovers are likely to curb their spending on big ticket items this Valentine’s go-round.

“Owing to an ongoing weak consumer sentiment, lovers on this Valentine’s Day are likely to curb their expenditure on big-ticket items like jewelry, a romantic getaway or an expensive designer outfit.”

There was no dominant reason cited for the prediction.

— with files from IANS

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