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Older version of CIA’s World Factbook listed Bajrang Dal and VHP as ‘militant religious organisation’

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A post is being shared on social media with a claim that the Central Investigative Agency (CIA) of the United States of America has declared Bajrang Dal, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) as militant organisations. Let’s fact-check the claim made in the post.

The archived version of the post can be found here.

Claim: The Central Investigative Agency (CIA) has declared Bajrang Dal, RSS, and VHP as militant organisations.

Fact: While it is true that the CIA’s World Factbook has listed VHP and Bajrang Dal as ‘militant religious organization’ for some time in the past, the list has been removed by 25 June 2018. Also, the latest World Factbook does not mention it. An older version of CIA’s World Factbook has listed RSS as a ‘nationalist organization’, not as a ‘militant organization’. Hence the claim made in the post is MISLEADING.

When we searched on the internet if any such declaration was made by the CIA, many news articles published in 2018 were found in the search results. In the ‘India Today’ article published in June 2018, it can be read that the VHP and the Bajrang Dal have been classified as ‘militant religious organization’ whereas the RSS has been classified as ‘nationalist organization’ in the CIA’s World Factbook. Other news articles can be read here and here.  

In the archived version of the old CIA website on 14 June 2018, it can be seen that the VHP and Bajrang Dal were classified as ‘militant religious organization’, and RSS was classified as ‘nationalist organization’. But, it can be seen that in the archived version of the website on 25 June 2018, the sub-section – ‘Political pressure groups and leaders’ (in the section – ‘Government: India’), where VHP, Bajrang Dal, RSS, and few other organisations were listed, has been removed. Also, in the latest World Factbook, there is no such list in the section – ‘Government: India’.

It can also be seen that VHP and Bajrang Dal were classified as ‘religious organization’, not as ‘militant religious organization’, in much older archived versions of the website. For more information, the year-wise versions of ‘The World Factbook’ can be found here.

To sum it up, an older version of CIA’s World Factbook listed Bajrang Dal and VHP as religious militant organisations, the RSS was listed as a ‘nationalist organization’.

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