Following the directive issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affair (MHA), the Prithviraj Chauhan-led Congress Government in Maharashtra on Thursday charged VHP leader Praveen Togadia for allegedly inciting communal hatred through his hate speech.
Togadia has been booked under Section 505 -- intent to incite any class or community of persons, Section 153(A) -- promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of religious harmony and Section 295(A) -- deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage the religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.
The Home Ministry advisory had asked the state government to take appropriate action against Praveen Togadia for his alleged hate speech on January 22 in Bhokar town of Nanded district.
“The MHA advice is clear. Once they have confirmed forensic evidence, appropriate action as per law must be taken against Togadia,” a ministry official said.
And indicating the Centre’s seriousness in this regard, Union Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs R P N Singh said if Togadia’s speech was inflammatory, the state government must take action against him. Singh also tweeted “the law is equal for everyone including Togadia”.
Meanwhile, a police complaint was filed against Togadia in Nanded after a video recording of his speech went viral on the internet.
The local police is said to have received a CD of Togadia’s speech in which the firebrand Hindu leader allegedly attacked MIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi, who was booked by the Andhra Pradesh Police for a similar hate speech in Adilabad district in December.
Owaisi is currently lodged at the Adilabad district jail following his arrest by the AP Police on January 8.
A complaint has also been filed in Adilabad against Togadia for his hate speech.
Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh, while demanding swift action against Togadia, had asked the Maharashtra Government to take similar action against the VHP leader.
“I welcome the police action against (Akbaruddin) Owaisi, but I just heard Togadia on a news channel, and I demand that similar action must be taken against him,” he had said.