Pravin Togadia refused entry by Jammu officials

 Pravin Togadia
Jammu, Feb 21: Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Pravin Togadia was on Thursday morning stopped from entering Jammu as the local administration felt his presence could cause law and order problems. Togadia, who was supposed to take part in several programmes in the Jammu region during his two-day visit, was sent back after his flight arrived from Delhi. Additonal deputy commissioner of Jammu Arya Sharma informed Togadia about the official decision.

"I have been detained at the Jammu Airport and not allowed to move out of the complex," Togadia said, adding that his fundamental right as a citizen of India was violated.

Police officers said the VHP leader was told that his presence could lead to tension and hence advised to return. The move did not go down well with the local VHP and Bajrang Dal supporters who raised anti-government slogans outside the Jammu airport. They accused the government of appeasing anti-national elements. They also claimed that the leader was not allowed to meet them.

Authorities were apprehensive about allowing Togadia, who is known for making fiery speeches which they thought could ignite trouble in a sensitive region like Kashmir. Moreover, the situation in the state has been tense over the recent execution of Afzal Guru, convicted in the 2001 parliament attack case. The controversies surrounding the execution are yet to die down completely.

Togadia reportedly told the authorities that there was not a single instance which proved that his visit or speech fuelled trouble in any part of the country. But according to the authorities, the preemptive move was made in view of the VHP leader's visit to Rajouri district in March last year when his fiery speech allegedly triggered communal tension. Police had booked him for the act.

Togadia said he was supposed to lend ears to grievances of the community about the Jammu and Kashmir government's discriminatory policies in employment, education, religious rights, trade and security during the visit.

OneIndia News

(With agency inputs)

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