Gujarat’s Bhavnagar police on Monday initiated an inquiry in the alleged hate speech by VHP international working president Pravin Togadia after the Election Commission sought an action taken report from the local police.
“We have started an inquiry into the incident on the orders of the Election Commission. We have come to know of the incident through media reports. We are looking for the CD of the speech and after going through the CD, we shall file complaint under relevant Sections of the IPC,” Bhavnagar SP Maninder Singh Pawar told The Indian Express over phone.
The SP said that Togadia had put up at the residence of a local VHP leader in Bhavnagar on Saturday night. “Around 30 to 40 residents of an area went where he (Togadia) had stayed and complained that the house in their locality had been sold to a Muslim and that was disturbing the peace. Togadia made the alleged speech while addressing those residents,” he said. The Bhavnagar district police has posted policemen on the property in question.
He added that the police were recording statements of people who had met Togadia. “We are also seeking support of the local news channels and the newspaper which reported the incident,” Pawar, who was in Gandhinagar said. The SP added that they would submit the action taken report by Tuesday. In his alleged speech, the fiery leader had asked people to take control of the house forcibly if the purchaser did not vacate it within 48 hours.
Meanwhile, under fire for the speech, Togadia on Monday termed the media reports “false, malafide and mischievous” and said he was sending legal notices to media houses.
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In a legal notice issued by his lawyer S D Jani, he said that he was scheduled to put up at the house of one Bhavin Jani in Bhavnagar on Saturday, when a group of protesters came to see him.
“… The group of around 1,000 people came to give my client a memorandum and presentation about how their houses were purchased under force and duress by some people,” the notice by Jani said.
“The said group also informed my client that they stayed in an area in Bhavnagar before and even there their houses were forcibly purchased and that they moved to another area where there were temples and that even at the new place they were being hounded to sell their houses to another group,” the notice said.
According to Jani, Togadia advised them to follow the legal process of “writing to the local administration, the concerned state government and approach the court if they felt that they were being forced into selling their houses”