Ahmedabad: VHP leader Pravin Togadia, who briefly went missing on Monday, on Tuesday charged that “some people” were trying to stifle his voice and that he was not allowed to speak on issues like Ram Temple, farmers and cow slaughter. A tearful Togadia, 62, made the allegations at a press conference, where he also said that he went into hiding as he feared police will kill him in an encounter.
“I am being targeted for a decade-old case, there is an attempt to suppress my voice. Rajasthan Police team came to arrest me. Someone told me plan was being made to kill me in an encounter,” Togadia claimed.
Togadia, who went missing yesterday after Rajasthan Police came to arrest him in a ten-year old case and was later found admitted to a hospital in unconscious state, claimed that attempts were being made to silence him for raising the voice of the Hindu community. The VHP leader said he will surrender before the court in Rajasthan after he is discharged from hospital. “Yesterday morning, I was performing pooja, when messages came that a large contingent of Rajasthan Police, along with Gujarat Police, was coming to encounter me (kill me in an encounter),” Togadia claimed.
“After informing my security guards, I, along with a VHP worker, took an auto-rickshaw, and went to Theltej area of the city. I called up Rajasthan chief minister (Vasundhara Raje) and home minister (Gulabchand Kataria) but they denied their police had come to Gujarat to arrest me. This raised more suspicion and I switched off my mobile phones,” he said.
“I contacted lawyers of Rajasthan and told them to get the arrest warrant cancelled. But they said that it was difficult as court issued it. So I decided to go to Jaipur by taking a flight and appear before the court (in Gangaput),” he said.
“However, when I was going in the auto-rickshaw to the airport, I felt dizzy and asked the driver to take me to some hospital. Then I fell unconscious. When I regained consciousness, I was at an unknown hospital,” he said.
“I do not fear death, I do not fear encounter. But I had to protect myself while following the law of the land,” he said.
“I have been raising my voice for Hindus. I am raising issues like Ram temple, national law to ban cow slaughter, re-settlement of Kashmiri Hindus in that state, giving farmers fair price for their crops. But an attempt is being made to silence my voice,” he said.
“Old cases are being reopened, so that I can be arrested. An attempt is being made to stifle my voice by arresting me in different states,” he said.
To a query, Togadia said he would reveal the names of those behind the plot to silence his voice, at the right time.
“Rajasthan Police had come to arrest me, but the chief minister and home minister of that state were not aware about it. Same way it happened in Gujarat. When Gujarat court issued a warrant against me, the chief minister (Vijay Rupani) here, or home minster (Pradeepsinh Jadeja) were not aware about it,” he said.
“On whose orders are police is taking such action will be revealed by me at an appropriate time and with evidence,” Togadia said.
An arrest warrant was issued by Ahmedabad court recently against Togadia and he had appeared in the court on January 6 to get it cancelled. He also claimed that CBI was threatening doctors associated with VHP.
The mystery over Togadia’s disappearance yesterday has deepened, with a senior police officer maintaining that neither the local Sola police nor Rajasthan Police had arrested him.
The VHP had on Monday claimed that Togadia was detained by Rajasthan Police in connection with the case, but the latter denied this.
Sola police station officials said a team of Rajasthan Police visited them on Monday to execute an arrest warrant against Togadia under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), but could not find him at his residence.
According to a statement issued yesterday by the VHP in Delhi after Togadia was found, Togadia, who suffered from low blood sugar levels, was found in an unconscious state in Shahibaug area and was taken to Chandramani Hospital located in the same area. VHP workers had taken to the streets on Monday and halted traffic and held demonstrations after their leader was untraceable.