Church attack-accused meets Pravin Togadiahttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/church-attack-accused-meets-pravin-togadia/

Church attack-accused meets Pravin Togadia

Agarwal was arrested for the attack that took place on the intervening night of March 20 and 21.

The photo posted by Agarwal
The photo posted by Yogesh Agarwal

As the police in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh face accusations of going soft on right-wing activists who allegedly vandalised the premises of a cathedral in Jabalpur last week, Dharam Sena activist Yogesh Agarwal, one of the accused, posted on his Facebook page photographs of his meeting with VHP international working president Pravin Togadia a couple of days after the attack.

Togadia leader was in Jabalpur to address a Hindu convention. Agarwal, founder of the Jabalpur-based right-wing organisation Dharma Sena, has led several campaigns against Christians and Muslims in the past few years and faces more than a dozen cases, but insists he was falsely implicated under pressure from missionaries apparently getting funds from abroad.

“I met Togadiaji at a friend’s house after the attack but we did not discuss the matter,’’ the 48-year-old said.

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Agarwal was among the six persons arrested for the attack that took place on the intervening night of March 20 and 21. He allegedly led a group of right-wing activists who claimed that tribals from Mandla and Dindori were being converted to Christianity.

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The six were released from the police station within an hour of their arrest on March 23. Christian organisations accused the police of deliberately invoking minor IPC sections to facilitate quick release of the activists, who allegedly manhandled some tribals attending the religious gathering.

Agarwal claimed he was framed and the video footage did not show him indulging in any vandalism. “We entered the premises in a dignified way after getting complaints about conversion by inducement,” he said. According to him, he has been acquitted by courts in most of the 15-16 cases involving him.

Agarwal said his organisation will petition the police early next week to book the organisers of the Christian gathering for alleged conversion. “The police have not acted on our complaint but caved in to the pressure from foreign-funded missionaries,’’ he alleged. Jabalpur SP H N Mishra said police have called for reports to know details of the alleged conversion.

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