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Updesh Rana

Affiliation: Vishva Sanatana Sangh (VSS) and Updesh Rana Youth Brigade
Vocation/ Title: Founder and National Secretary, VSS
Categories: Most Dangerous
Location: Meerut, Uttar Pradesh

Updesh Rana is a Hindu extremist and Islamophobe based in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. His hate-mongering often makes national news. His hateful campaign is, however, not limited to the internet. Rana travels to different places in India to incite violence against Muslims. Through his organizations Vishva Sanatana Sangh ( World Union of Hindus) and Updesh Rana Youth Brigade, he mobilizes Hindu youth and prompts them to commit violence against Muslims.

He was actively involved in the anti-Muslim pogrom of 2020 that took place in New Delhi. Rana was one of the masterminds of the pogrom who instigated the Hindu mobs and orchestrated the violence against the Muslim minority. The violence led to the killing of dozens of Muslims. The rioters carried out arson and looting in the Muslim vicinity. His inflammatory WhatsApp messages and videos made rounds on social media that contributed immensely to stirring passion and anti-Muslim hatred among Hindus.

He supported Shambhu Lal Regar, who hacked and burned a migrant worker named Mohammed Afrazul in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district in December 2017. He recorded the gruesome murder on video, which went viral on social media. Rana set out to Rajasthan to register his solidarity with the accused, Shambhu Lal. He was, however, arrested by the police and prevented from reaching the destination.

Rana organized rallies in support of Shambhu Lal, in which participants shouted hateful slogans and displayed deadly weapons. He uploaded many videos in support of Shambhu Lal.

The Jamia gunman, Rambhakt Gopal, who fired at anti-citizenship bill protestors near Jamia Millia Islamia in early 2020, said that he was inspired by Updesh Rana to conduct the attack. Rambhakt, in his publications, had written that if he had even half of Rana’s followers, he would have turned Shaheen Bagh into a “Jallianwala Bagh massacre.”

Commending the gunman, Rana expressed his admiration by comparing the gunman with the Übermensch of Friedrich Nietzsche, or superman. “Nietzsche writes in his theory of superman that every society needs a superman. Gopal wanted to be the Mahamanav of this Hindu society. His method may have been incorrect, but one must think why he chose this route. He is emotional, angry against the system,” he said.

The Special Task Force had arrested Rana in Uttar Pradesh for outraging religious feelings by posting on WhatsApp a photoshopped picture of the Taj Mahal with saffron flags atop its pinnacle and minarets.

“Amit Jani and Updesh Rana were arrested here by the STF, Agra, for posting a computer-generated picture of the Taj Mahal with seven saffron flags atop its pinnacle and minarets on a WhatsApp group,” an STF official later said.

He actively partakes in the conspiracy theories of ‘Love Jihad’ and cow vigilantism and coordinates with many Hindu-supremacist organizations like Karni Sena and Rashtriya Swayamsevak  Sangh.

Rana supports the method of summary punishment for Muslims. He celebrates the illegal bulldozing of Muslim homes. In one of his videos, he demanded ‘Bulldozer Justice’ to teach Muslims a lesson when a communal scuffle occurred in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh.

He was arrested with 19 others for protesting against the reality TV show “Bigg Boss” in front of Bollywood star Salman Khan’s house in Mumbai. He also walked into the Tipu Sultan mosque in Kolkata and slapped Imam Maulana Barkati.