Book VHP leader for hate speech: Congress

 22 Apr 2014 - 0:09

Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath talks to media during a visit to review election preparations near Gandhinagar, some 20km from Ahmedabad, yesterday.

New Delhi: The Congress yesterday filed a complaint with the Election Commission over the alleged hate speech by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) president Pravin Togadia who reportedly said Muslims should be thrown out of Hindu areas.
In a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner, the Congress urged the poll panel to take prompt action. It also said nothing has been done so far in the case of Bharatiya Janata Party leader Giriraj Singh’s hate speech in Jharkhand.
“In quick succession to the recent hate speech by Giriraj Singh at Bokaro, Jharkhand, Pravin Togadia targeted his guns... by exhorting Hindus to forcibly evict Muslims and take control of their business houses,” said the Congress letter signed by the party’s legal cell secretary K C Mittal.
“To describe such a statement as a hate speech in violation of the Nodel Code of Conduct would be too mild. His statement is anti-national, provocative, inflammatory and an open threat to persons belonging to a particular community,” the Congress said.
The letter added that the hate speech was aimed at getting votes for the BJP and prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi “with whom they share the same philosophy and ideology”.
The letter also blamed the commission for not taking any action against Giriraj Singh, who had said those opposing Modi should be sent to Pakistan.
“Unfortunately, such statements are allowed and permitted by the BJP to seek votes by spreading hatred amongst different communities and religions. Unless the commission takes stern action against people making such speeches, fair and proper election cannot be conducted.”
Congress leader Rashid Alvi said: “I think Praveen Togadia should be treated. He should be hospitalised. In this country, if Hindus stay in a Hindu area and Muslims in a Muslim area, and they are not allowed to buy property in each others areas, it is against the Constitution.”
While AAP called it “an extremely shocking and a shameful act”.
As per media reports, VHP President Pravin Togadia delivered the anti-Muslim speech in Bhavnagar, Gujarat.
Protesting outside the house of a Muslim businessman, Togadia allegedly gave the occupant 48 hours to vacate his house, failing which he asked his followers to take forcible possession of his property and fight a legal battle later which will go on for years.
To prevent Muslims from buying properties he wanted the government to bring in Disturbed Areas Act to Bhavnagar, which would prevent inter-community sale of immovable property.
The report claimed that 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.
However, Togadia has denied making any such comments against Muslims and issued a press release in which he said that the media reports were “fabricated and written with malicious intention to malign his and his organisation’s name.”
The ultra-Hindu brigade Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) backed the under fire leader by denying that Togadia has made those hate comments.
The Election Commission has sought the recording of the speech. “They (EC officials) are in the process of acquiring the recording of the statements made by Togadia and after listening to it they will decide the future course of action,” said Bhavnagar District Collector and Returning Officer P K Solanki.