Anti-Muslim misinformation, fear mongering and trishuls: Inside Kranti Sena’s first convention in Muzaffarnagar

22 June 2022
CK Vijayakumar for The Caravan
CK Vijayakumar for The Caravan

Kranti Sena, a staunch Hindutva organisation that describes itself as “Hindu friendly,” held its first activist convention on 1 June 2022 in Muzaffarnagar, in Uttar Pradesh. Close to five hundred people—around a fourth of whom were women—participated in this convention. The conclave’s speeches were filled with misinformation and hate speech targeting Muslims. Kranti Sena leaders demanded a “sterilisation system … to curb the explosively growing Muslim population in the country” and that the “crores of Bangladeshi Rohingya infiltrators who have entered the country illegally … be driven out.” They also asked for the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits who had been driven out of Jammu and Kashmir in the nineties, and that “the country should be declared Hindu Rashtra immediately.” Seemingly acknowledging the widespread crisis of unemployment in India, Kranti Sena leaders also demanded also that the “educated unemployed” of the country be given jobs, or that they be given Rs 5,000 as a monthly allowance, and that the fees for applying to government jobs be abolished. Religious leaders who were addressing the convention openly encouraged young Hindus to be armed with tridents in order to protect their religion from Muslims.

The Kranti Sena had first come into the limelight in Muzaffarnagar in 2021, when its activists began roaming the markets around Hindu festivals such as Teej and Karva Chauth, campaigning against hiring Muslim mehendi artists. Their demand was that no Muslim man should apply mehendi to any Hindu women. Manoj Saini, the general secretary of the Sena, claimed to the media that Muslim men were using mehendi to entrap Hindu women as a form of “love jihad.” Saini was the organiser of the 1 June convention as well. Regarding the Sena’s demands, he said, “Pehle hum nivedan karte hain, phir aavedan karte hain, agar in dono se baat nahi banti toh hum de-dana-dan karte hain”—First we make a request, then a plea, and if both fail, we let our actions do the talking.

The group was established in 2020. Its president, Lalit Mohan Sharma, was earlier associated with the Shiv Sena, and was the president of the party’s western Uttar Pradesh committee. But when the Shiv Sena formed an alliance with the Congress and the National Congress Party in Maharashtra in 2019, Sharma did not approve. Angered, he formed the Kranti Sena with some like-minded supporters.

Sunil Kashyap is a reporting fellow at The Caravan.

Keywords: Muzaffarnagar Hindutva Shiv Sena Western Uttar Pradesh