Gujarat CID to investigate Togadia’s anti-Muslim speech delivered during elections

By Staff Reporter,

Ahmedabad: An FIR registered against VHP leader Praveen Togadia for allegedly delivering anti-Muslim speech in Bhavnagar, Gujarat during the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year, has been handed over to CID (Crime) of the state for detailed investigation. FIR was registered in April 2014 by Bhavnagar police on the directive of the Election Commission (EC).

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On camera, at a gathering in a house in Bhavnagar in Gujarat, Pravin Togadia was seen offering advice on how to prevent Muslims from buying property in areas where Hindus are in the majority. “We should have it in us to take the law in our own hands in an area where we are a majority and scare them,” Mr. Togadia ws found saying.

VHP President, Pravin Togadia
VHP President, Pravin Togadia

The footage from Bhavnagar also showed Mr Togadia allegedly declaring, “Muslims have been buying Hindu properties at throwaway prices. How do you stop this?” As a solution, he told, “You put pressure on the government to enforce the Disturbed Areas Act the way we have in cities like Ahmedabad.”

The Disturbed Areas Act makes it tough to sell property to a member of the minority community in a neighborhood to prevent communal tension and people who are in the minority from making distress sales.

Mr. Togadia allegedly advised the gathering that another option is to occupy a Muslim’s property by force and knit the owner in a legal case that could take years to resolve.

“Togadia had allegedly advocated in his speech the forcible eviction of a Muslim family that owned a house in a Hindu dominated area in Bhavnagar,” said CID (Crime) officials.

On the EC directive, Bhavnagar police had registered an FIR under IPC section 153(A) [promoting enmity between different groups on the basis of religion] and section 188 [disobedience of an order issued by a public servant].

Bhavnagar police, which registered FIR and investigated matter initially, had sent video tapes of the speech to the Directorate of Forensic Science (DFS) for lip-synch report. “However, even after a month we are awaiting the report from the DFS,” said a senior police official.

ToI reported that a senior police officials of CID (Crime) saying further action would be initiated only after they check the contents of the DFS report. In connection with the FIR, Bhavnagar police had recorded the statements of some people who had gathered at the place where the alleged hate speech was delivered.

“We had also recorded the statements of security personnel who were deployed as part of security provided to Togadia,” said a senior police official.

Pravin Tugadia is the president of saffron organization Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) which is a key constituent of the Sangh Parivar, an umbrella of Hindu nationalist organizations that includes its political wing BJP.