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VHP’s Pravin Togadia says he is being targeted, claims threat to life

india Updated: Jan 16, 2018 22:15 IST
Hiral Dave
Hiral Dave
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad
Pravin Togadia,Vishwa Hindu Parishad,Vasundhara Raje

Togadia was brought by people to a private Chandra Mani hospital in an unconscious state, which the doctors claimed was caused by low level of sugar.(HT FILE PHOTO)

Senior Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Pravin Togadia alleged on Tuesday that “some people” are plotting to kill him to silence his voice on issues such as Ram temple and cow protection, a day after he went missing for almost 12 hours in Ahmedabad.

A tearful Togadia told reporters that he went into hiding on Monday because he feared for his life after learning that a joint team of Gujarat and Rajasthan Police was on its way to arrest him in a decade-old case.

“There is an attempt to suppress my voice... someone told me a plan was being made to kill me in an encounter,” the 62-year-old VHP international working president said, but didn’t name anyone.

Central intelligence agencies were threatening him team of doctors in order to “silence his voice” on issues such as the building of a Ram temple in Ayodhya and cow protection, Togadia added.

Later in the day, Patidar leader Hardik Patel and senior Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia visited Togadia in hospital.

“President of a Hindu organisation is in danger, farmer is in danger, unemployed is in danger and Hindustan is in danger,” Patel told reporters outside the hospital.

The Congress demanded an inquiry. “The law and order situation in Gujarat has completely deteriorated and it reflects in what Togadia claimed today. We demand an inquiry into Togadia’s allegations to bring out the truth,” state Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki said.

On Monday around 10.30am, the firebrand Hindutva leader was reported missing from the VHP’s office in Ahmedabad Paldi area. He was found at night around 9.20pm when he was brought in unconscious at a private hospital roughly eight kilometers away. Rupkumar Agrawal, a doctor at the Chandramani Private Hospital where he was found, said on Monday night that Togadia’s sugar level was “very down” but that he was stable.

Narrating the sequence of events, Togadia said he was tipped off by a person on Monday morning that police was on their way to arrest him. “I took my purse, left the security cover at office and got in an auto rickshaw.” Togadia has Z-category security but left his guard at the VHP office.

Rajasthan police said the arrest warrant was issued by a sessions court in Gangapur under the Indian Penal Code’s Section 188, which pertains to disobedience of a public servant’s order. Togadia had allegedly violated prohibitory orders under Section 144 — which limits the assembly of people — in the Rajasthan town 16 years ago.

Sola police station officials said a team of Rajasthan Police visited them on Monday to execute an arrest warrant against Togadia but could not find him at his residence. Both Gujarat and Rajasthan Police had said they had not detained or arrested him.

Togadia claimed that he called Rajasthan’s home minister Gulab Chand Kataria and chief minister Vasundhara Raje once he got into his auto on Monday but that both allegedly denied any knowledge of police action.

“That got me suspicious. While I wanted to save myself, I also wanted to follow the law. So I switched off my two cell phones. I reached a workers home and from someone’s phone number got in touch with lawyers in Rajasthan, who advised me to produce myself in the court.”

Togadia claimed he left for Ahmedabad airport to catch a flight for Jaipur around 3pm on Monday. “Something happened to my health after I took an auto-rickshaw for airport. It was around 3 pm. And, next I know I was woken up in a hospital,’’ he said.

Togadia claimed old cases were being opened without the knowledge of senior leaders in an attempt to frame him. He cited the example of a 1996 attempt-to-murder case in Gujarat, in which a warrant was issued against him by an Ahmedabad court earlier this month. Togadia appeared in court on January 6 but claimed neither chief minister Vijay Rupani nor state home minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja knew about it.

“Old cases are being reopened, so that I can be arrested. An attempt is being made to stifle my voice by arresting me in different states,” Togadia added.

(with agency inputs)

First Published: Jan 16, 2018 12:38 IST