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VHP chief Pravin Togadia revives call for Ram temple, seeks population control

Addressing over 20,000 people at the Virat Hindu Sammelan, Togadia also tried to address the issues arising from the Patidar quota stir by demanding free education for 10 crore Hindu school students.

india Updated: Apr 11, 2017 16:21 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad
Vishwa Hindu Parishad,VHP chief Pravin Togadia,Ram temple
VHP chief Pravin Togadia said his organisation would construct the Ram temple through ‘volunteership’ if the government failed to enact a law for the same.(HT file photo)

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) international working president Pravin Togadia on Sunday asked the Centre to pass two laws, one concerning the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya and the other to ensure population control across communities, in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

Addressing a large crowd at the Virat Hindu Sammelan, Togadia also tried to address the issues arising from the Patidar quota stir by demanding free education for 10 crore Hindu school students. This should be done “on the lines of similar benefits given to 95 lakh Muslim students”, he said.

Togadia sought a “Hindu-first policy on matters concerning welfare, development and prosperity”, among other things.

The VHP convention, which had been discontinued in the years following the 2002 communal riots, was restarted amid speculations of early assembly elections in Gujarat. The polls, originally slated to be held by the end of this year, will occur in the backdrop of the agitation by Patidars – a crucial vote bank for the saffron party.

The firebrand leader alleged that the Muslim community was contributing to India’s rising population. “Just like Hindu couples, who now don’t opt for more than two children, Muslims should also be allowed to have just two kids. Violators should be barred from availing welfare schemes such as free education, healthcare and food rations. They could also be exempted from participating in the electoral process,” he said.

Togadia, a qualified surgeon hailing from Gujarat, threatened to build the Ram temple at Ayodhya through karseva (volunteership) if the Modi-led government failed to enact a law in this regard. “Just talking like Sardar (Vallabhai Patel) won’t help, you will also need to act like him,” he said, referring to the iconic statesman’s role in rebuilding the Somnath temple.

The VHP also unveiled an array of welfare schemes for Hindus – including healthcare and security – at the event. It promised to create employment opportunities for over 50,000 Hindu youth through the provision of various training programmes in Ahmedabad by next month.

“If any of you aren’t able to foot private hospital bills, simply dial the Hindu Healthcare Helpline number 18602333666. If you have general security concerns, dial 02066803300,” said Togadia.

The event was also attended by VHP joint secretary Surendra Jain, Bajrang Dal president Manoj Sharma and a host of Hindu saints.

The VHP convention is being seen as an attempt to bring Hindutva to the fore at a time when the BJP has appointed hardliner Adityanath Yogi as the Uttar Pradesh chief minister. It will also help mobilise the VHP and Bajrang Dal cadre – who have been sulking over the arrest of their colleagues for the Gujarat riots and the subsequent cold-shouldering of the temple issue – ahead of the assembly elections.

First Published: Mar 26, 2017 19:52 IST