You will recall that my sister is moving to Delhi. Even as I write, she is on a work trip in far off Delhi.
She got the following email from security in her company:
Security: Valentine’s Day unrest possible in India Feb. 14. Avoid protests; use
caution at restaurants and gift shops, especially in northern cities.
Rightwing Hindu groups strongly object to the observance of Valentine’s Day in India. Unrest is possible, especially in Mumbai, New Delhi and other northern Indian cities around Feb. 14. Valentine’s Day is very popular among many young Indians, but groups such as the Shiv Sena, Sangh Parivar, Hindu Jagran Manch, Bajrang Dal, and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) consider Valentine’s Day a vulgar affront to Indian culture and an example of Western commercialism. They regularly threaten to disrupt holiday events; protests are common outside shops selling Valentine’s Day paraphernalia. Demonstrations can turn violent – protesters have ransacked shops, burned bonfires of greeting cards and attacked people celebrating the unofficial holiday. Vandalism and police clashes are possible.
Most Valentine’s Day unrest occurs in New Delhi and in major cities in the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. Although Mumbai is very cosmopolitan, it is a Shiv Sena stronghold and there has been Valentine’s Day unrest in the city. In New Delhi, mobs have harassed Westerners at Connaught Place. Use caution in the area, as well as at the Kamala Market and Ansal Plaza.
Despite increased police surveillance, security disturbances are possible at public parks, university campuses, and commercial areas in major cities around Feb. 14. Avoid gift shops (such as Archie’s Greetings) whose proprietors ignore warnings from rightwing Hindu organizations. These groups might also threaten
to disrupt Valentine’s Day events at other venues. Potential troublemakers are easily identifiable – rightwing Hindus often wear saffron-colored clothing or carry orange flags.
Valentine’s-related security disturbances since 2000:
Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat, Vadodara
Pradesh: Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur
Aurangabad, Mumbai, Nagpur, Nasik, Pune, Thane