Updated: June 29, 2021 3:17:20 am
As the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Gujarat began its outreach programme on Monday morning with a visit to Somnath temple in Gir Somnath, party’s state president Gopal Italia faced protests from a local religious body over an alleged old video of him making incendiary statements against Hindu religion rituals.
AAP Gujarat’s president Gopal Italia and former television anchor Isudan Gadhvi along with other party workers visited the temple on
Monday morning as part of the party’s outreach programme of a statewide tour to connect with families of those who have lost loved ones to Covid-19.
A video emerged of the incident which showed Italia and other workers exiting the temple on Monday morning even as a group of persons were seen trying to surround him. The AAP Gujarat blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for orchestrating the protests.
Milan Joshi, Gir Somnath president of Shri Saurashtra Kutch Samast Brahmsamaj, said, “Italia had made certain derogatory comments against Hindu rituals five years ago a video of which has surfaced. We wanted to question him as to why he has come to Somnath temple to seek blessings today when he doesn’t believe in the faith. But he avoided us and ran towards his vehicle and left the place. Later, he came back and spoke to us. He has publicly apologised for the comments made in the video and the matter has been sorted.”
Later, Italia released a video on his Facebook account stating, “We wanted to visit Lord Mahadev at Somnath temple and after darshan wanted to interact and offer our condolences to the families that have lost their loved ones due to Covid. However, two days ago, we received information that antisocial elements of BJP are planning to create chaos outside the temple…”
“Our AAP workers at Veraval met the local police sub-inspector and informed the police regarding our visit and the possibility of attack on us by the BJP. After the visit to the temple as Isudan Gadhvi and I stepped out of the temple, around 100-150 people mobbed us and tried to attack us and chased our car. When we reached Prabhas Patan police station in Gir Somnath to lodge a formal complaint, we were told by the police that an FIR will be lodged against us…”
When asked about the viral video of him making comments against Hindu rituals, Italia said, “BJP in the past have been making attacks against Arvind Kejriwal, Gopal Italia, Isudan Gadhvi through morphed or edited videos. If there has been such a video in the past then why no questions were raised back then? This is a conspiracy by the BJP to instigate the people against us. If someone’s religious feeling has been hurt due to my comments in the past, then I apologise to them.”
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