Feb 012002

BOMBAY—Hard-line Hindus burned cards and gifts in protest against Valentine’s Day which they proclaim offends Indian tradition while cane-wielding policemen guarded shops to prevent violence.

Groups of slogan-shouting Shiv Sena activists went around greeting card and gift shops in the financial capital, Bombay, asking owners to shut down.

The activists waved signs saying “Down with Western Culture, Down with Valentine’s Day,” “Keep Hindu culture alive, Ban Valentine’s Day” as they set fire to Valentine paraphernalia.

“We are taking action against shop owners who have not followed our request. We had already warned them not to sell Valentine’s Day cards or gifts,” Anil Parab, a senior Shiv Sena leader, told reporters in Bombay.

In an attempt to make amends, Hallmark has released special heart-shaped stickers for Hindus to place on their foreheads so that Valentine’s Day and Hinduism can be equally celebrated.

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