Extremist Hindu leader Pravin Togadia
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP, or World Hindu Council) is an organization working for the interests of Hindus in India and abroad. It is part of a group of nationalist and extremist Hindu organizations collectively known as Sangh Parivar (or Sangh family – short for Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh, or RSS). Bajrang Dal is also an extremist organization, and part of the Sangh Parivar.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is projected to win the current parliamentary elections in India and form the federal government following the declaration of election results on May 16, also owes its origins to the Sangh Parivar. BJP's candidate Narendra Modi, who as chief minister in 2002 was accused of not acting to prevent the anti-Muslim riots of Gujarat state, is expected to form the Indian government should the BJP and its allied parties win the elections. The current secular government led by Congress party and its allies is widely forecast to lose power.
At a recent event in Bhavnagar, a town in Gujarat state, VHP president Pravin Togadia called for evicting Muslims from their homes and urged his extremist followers to occupy their houses and shops by forcibly capturing them, or through other tactics such as getting them entangled in legal cases.
Below is a report published by The Times of India daily on April 21, written by its journalist Vijaysinh Parmar, followed by a transcript of Pravin Togadia's statement as telecast by ABP television channel of India.
Times Of India Report: "Evict Muslims From Hindu Areas: Pravin Togadia"
"Vishwa Hindu Parishad's (VHP) president Pravin Togadia sent temperatures soaring in [the town of] Bhavnagar on Saturday evening [April 19] with a hate speech that targeted Muslims for buying properties in Hindu areas. At night, Togadia joined a group of VHP and Bajrang Dal members in a street protest outside a house purchased by a Muslim businessman near Meghani Circle.
While saffron groups have been regularly organizing 'Ram Dhuns' and 'Ram Darbars' to thwart such deals, Togadia went a step further by asking the protesters to take complete control of the house and put a 'Bajrang Dal' board on it. Togadia told the gathering that there were two ways to stop such deals. One is to pressure the state government to bring in the Disturbed Areas Act in Bhavnagar, which prevents inter-community sale of immovable property. The second is to take forcible possession of the house and fight a legal battle later, which will go on for years.
"He gave the Muslim occupant 48 hours to vacate the house. 'If he does not relent, go with stones, tires [used to set fires], and tomatoes to his office. There is nothing wrong in it. [The] killers of [former Indian Prime Minister] Rajiv Gandhi have not been hanged... There is nothing to fear and the case will go on,' Togadia told the charged-up gathering. 'I have done it in the past, and Muslims have lost both property and money,' he said.
"He also said that this election is the best time to pressure political parties to ensure the safety of Hindus. 'Don't be reluctant to pressure Congress or BJP for the sake of Hindus' safety,' he said. After the event was over, tension was palpable and police feared that the mob might attack the house. A team of policemen has been stationed outside the house to avert any trouble."
ABP TV Channel's News' Clip: "When You Go Out In Streets, Plan To Spit [On Muslims]'
"There is a conspiracy by Muslims in numerous villages and towns of India – that they first buy one house at a high price and after that at half the price the houses of Hindus; this is a part of a strategy. How can we stop this? There are two ways to stop this: one is that [a sympathetic] government enforce the Disturbed Areas Act; this was caused to be enforced in Ahmedabad and some other towns during the [secular] Congress rule after protests were organized [by Hindu extremist groups].When the Act is enforced, Muslims cannot buy houses in the areas of Hindus; pressure should be mounted for it on the government [as a tactic to enforce this law].
"The second path is: talk to some lawyer, occupy the house [of Muslims] and put up a Bajrang Dal board [sign] there. Occupy the house, put up the Bajrang Dal board, and let them fight [an unending legal case]. [Sounds of claps from the audience]. One cannot be hanged for illegally occupying someone's house. If they file a case, let them fight. If the killers of [former Prime Minister] Rajiv Gandhi could not be hanged, nothing will happen to us either…
"When you go out in streets, plan to spit [on Muslims]; don't you go out? One cannot be punished for spitting on someone. One cannot be punished if you throw tomato on someone. Whenever they come out of homes, 10-15 youth attack them with tomatoes. [Sounds of laughter from the audience]. By fighting on these two fronts [legal and practical intimidation], force them to accept that the occupation of the houses is with us, or to vacate and lose money…."
Sources: Timesofindia.indiatimes.com (India), April 21, 2014; The video of Pravin Togadia's statement can be watched here; the transcript is from Hindi subtitles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zatIRhuiuuY, April 21, 2014.