Vivek Premi is a Hindu nationalist goon and Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) member. He is the former head of Bajrang Dal’s Meerut Zone in Uttar Pradesh. Bajrang Dal is a militant religious organization and the youth wing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).
Premi shot into the limelight in 2015 after beating up and parading Riyaz, a Muslim man in the Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh, over allegations of stealing a calf from a cow shed.
Premi was arrested on charges of rioting, voluntarily causing hurt, intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace, and promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion. On July 10, 2015, the Shamli district administration invoked NSA against Premi, which the state government approved on July 16, 2015. But months later, the Modi government ordered his release.
In April 2018, a video surfaced online where Premi was seen forcibly converting a Dalit man back to Hinduism.
He often targets Muslim men for having interreligious relationships. He has built an information network among restaurant employees such as waiters, cashiers, and kitchen staff across the communally sensitive, riot-scarred districts of Western Uttar Pradesh to spy on Muslims dating a Hindu girl.
“Days before Valentine’s Day, we had declared koi Love Jihadi nahi dikhna chahiye sadakon pe (No Love Jihadi should be seen on the streets). But that is what happened. We caught a Love Jihadi. We will not tolerate Love Jihad at any cost,” he said.
In 2020, Indian journalist Mohammad Ali wrote a 10,000-word piece on Premi for The Wired US chronicling the rise of a small-time Hindu goon to the national stage.