BENGALURU: City police have issued orders prohibiting Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Praveen Togadia from entering the city for seven days from Thursday.
The order was issued after local VHP leaders approached the police seeking permission to hold a Virat Hindu Samajotsava at National College Ground in Basavanagudi on Sunday. They informed the police that Togadia would be attending the event.
“I have directed Togadia not to enter the city from February 5 to 11 as he is a staunch proponent of the Hindutva ideology and is known for his provocative and inflammatory speeches against certain sections of society,” City Police Commissioner M N Reddi stated in a release.
“Despite strong protests across the country, Togadia continues to make speeches hurting religious sentiments of other communities.”
He said the decision was taken after discussions with intelligence and other subordinate officers and members of the public about the effect of the proposed Samajotsava. “There is every likelihood of disturbance of public tranquility and communal harmony in Bengaluru city if the Togadia speech is not prevented. Using alternative powers enumerated in the law will not be sufficient to maintain law and order,” Reddi added.
Cases Against Togadia
In many states, cases have been registered against Togadia for making inflammatory statements and disrespecting the Constitution.
According to sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs, 19 criminal cases have been booked against him in various states. On December 18, 2002, Togadia made a provocative speech at Chikkamagaluru during a communal harmony meet on the occasion of Datta Jayanti.
Togadia is a non-residential addressee of Bengaluru and has no permanent residence in Karnataka. Though he is a resident of Gujarat, he tours the country to participate in various VHP activities.
BJP Opposes Ban
The BJP has condemned the police department’s move. Jagadish Shettar, leader of the opposition in the Assembly, said Togadia has visited various places in the state in the past and addressed rallies without sparking trouble.
“It is shocking to hear that the state government fears trouble because of his speeches. This is a gross violation of freedom of movement and speech by the Siddaramaiah government,” he said.
A delegation comprising leaders of the BJP, VHP and other pro-Hindu forums will meet Reddi soon and ask him to withdraw the ban order.