Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) president Pravin Togadia is most of the times in news for his words rather than anything else. Very recently, Togadia accused BJP-led Union government of not taking “stern action” against pro-Pakistani separatists in Jammu and Kashmir.
By “stern action”, hear what Togadia meant: “The way Pakistani flags are being hoisted in Kashmir is a matter of concern and now it is necessary to shoot people in their chest if they shout slogans in favour of Pakistan and hoist Pakistani flags,” Togadia told reporters in Kutch district.
This kind of statement looks up as a signature remark of a person whose vitriolic hate-speeches earned him the title of most number of criminal cases and complaints for hate speeches in August 2013.
None of the 19 cases against Togadia reached a logical conclusion, except one registered in Ajmer in 2003. Four years later, the court acquitted him after the then BJP government in Rajasthan denied police permission to prosecute him, an Economic Times report says. Togadia had been booked on charges of defiling a place of worship and seeking to incite a riot, it reads.
A long-time colleague of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in RSS during his early days, the cancer surgeon-turned-full-time VHP worker, Togadia has said it all.
From asking Hindus to cut all relations with Muslims to his alleged role in interfering with the treatment of victims of Gujarat riots in hospitals, telling doctors whom to treat and whom to turn away, Togadia’s speeches have at many times, left BJP top cadre, including Modi, red-faced and blushing.
Here are some of his controversial speeches:
In April 2014, Togadia protested outside the house of a Muslim businessman in Bhavnagar, Gujarat and allegedly gave the Muslim occupant 48 hours to vacate, failing which would prompt his followers to take forcible possession of his property and fight a legal battle. Togadia asked the government to bring in Disturbed Areas Act to Bhavnagar to prevent inter-community sale of immovable property, to prevent Muslims from buy property. News reports said the VHP leader also threatened Muslims with violence and asked his followers to “go with stones, tyres and tomatoes” and that there was nothing to fear. A year later, the same Muslim businessman was forced to sell off his property and move out of the Bhavnagar posh locality in Gujarat.
During 2014, Togadia while speaking at Amreli town in Saurashtra, Gujarat said Muslims must not be allowed to Garba events.
“We must be alert so that not a single Muslim person can enter in our Garba festival. Identity cards of each and every person must be checked at every Garba event. Navratri is the festival of Mother Amba’s prayers and worship, so we cannot allow beef-eaters Muslims to enter into Garba places.”
Togadia also came in defence of Ghar-Wapsi campaign of right-wing groups, saying: “The ancestors of Indian Muslims were Hindus. The ancestors of Christians were Hindu too. History says that many people converted to Islam due to atrocities and by the force of the swords of Mughal emperors. ”
He continued, “at present, in this India, there is no atrocity or force on Hindus. In such a situation, if someone wants to return to the Hindu society, the Hindus should accept him whole-heartedly.”
Wary of any threat to law and order problem, Togadia’s fiery speeches have prompted police of various states to detain him ahead of his scheduled visits. In the aftermath of communal violence in Kishtwar region of Jammu and Kashmir, Togadia was detained and sent back from Jammu airport by J&K; police.
West Bengal government has banned the entry of Togadia into the state fearing communal tension and disruption in public tranquility. He also faced a ban to enter Bengaluru.