New Delhi: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal have been classified as militant religious outfits in the recently updated World Factbook published by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The two organisations have been included in a section titled ‘Political pressure groups and leaders’, which also includes the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), the ideological parent of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The RSS has been classified as a “nationalist" organisation. The VHP and the Bajrang Dal are generally seen as affiliates of the RSS.
Other groups in the same list include the All Parties Hurriyat Conference—which has been described as a separatist group—while the Jamiat Ulema-e Hind (Mahmood Madani) has been labelled a religious organization.
“We have not seen the report yet. We will study it and only then we will be in a better place to respond to such comments," said Vinod Bansal, a spokesperson for the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
The external affairs ministry did not immediately comment on the issue.
An email sent to the US embassy remained unanswered at the time of going to print.
The website of the World Factbook says it is an annual publication of the CIA with almanac-style information about the countries of the world.
The Factbook provides information about the demographics, geography, communications, government,
economy, and military of many countries across the world.
It is prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency mostly for use by the officials of the US government. It is also used a source of information by students, researchers and scholars.