What Ails The Saffronista Surgeon Pravin Togadia ?
Why is Vishwa Hindu Parishad, International president Pravin Togadia fearful for his life in BJP ruled Gujarat ?.
This million rupee puzzle is defying an answer as unfolding events indicate something amiss in the saffron brotherhood.
VHP leader Dr Pravin Togadia who mysteriously disappeared on January 15 from the VHP office in Ahmedabad causing consterned cadres to take to the streets leading to stray incidents of violence, re-appeared in a city hospital in an unconscious condition the same evening.
The next day,Togadia went public charging that there was an attempt to muzzle his voice for raising issues like the construction of the Ram temple, resettlement of Kashmiri pundits, curbing cow slaughter and ensuring right price to farmers for their produce. Known for his fiery temperament and acidic tongue, Togadia was tearful in his interaction with mediapersons. He said that he had gone into hiding fearing an ‘encounter’ by the police.
News of the VHP leader’s sudden disappearance over a period of more than eight hours created an uproar and the VHP cadres hit the streets in Ahmedabad disrupting traffic and virtually ‘gheraoed’ a police station. The confusion became worse when the police issued statements that Rajasthan Police had indeed reached the state to execute an arrest warrant against Togadia under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) but had returned empty handed as they could not find him at his residence.
Unfolding the sequence of events, in his own words, Togadia said" I was performing my puja when someone rushed in to ask me to leave my office immediately as a team of Rajasthan police and Gujarat police was on its way to kill me in an encounter. Togadia said he left his office , informing the guard provided as part of his Z-plus security . “I stopped an auto-rickshaw and with a VHP worker went towards Thaltej area of the city(Ahmedabad). I connected with Rajasthan Home Minister and Chief Minister, who told me that they were not aware of any Rajasthan police team having left the state to arrest him and so fearful of the worst, I switched off my mobile phones to avoid being traced,” he added.
The VHP leader stated that he contacted his lawyers in Rajasthan, urging them to get the arrest warrant cancelled. However, when they said that it would be difficult, I decided to fly down to Jaipur. “However, when I was in an auto-rickshaw on way to the airport, I felt dizzy and fell unconscious. I have no recollection after that,” he said.
Togadia said that though he did not fear death or an encounter, he had to protect himself. “Old cases are being re-opened in different states to arrest me and stifle my voice by seeking to send me from one jail to the other," he said.
He blamed Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) being behind these attempts and claimed that they had even resorted to threatening the team of doctors he had prepared to work for Hindu cause.
However, the twist in the tail came hours after Dr Togadia’s media-interaction when the Crime Branch of the Ahmedabad police sought to contradict the top VHP leader. In the detailed media statement, J.K.Bhatt, joint commissioner of police, Ahmedabad crime branch’s narration of the sequence of events implied that Togadia was lying.
According to the officer Togadia was never unconscious and was awake when the ambulance was called to take him to hospital around 8 p.m and that his movement from morning to evening was a planned one.
The next day, January 17, when the prime minister was in Ahmedabad hosting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin natanyahu, Togadia went public leveling charges of conspiracy against Modi while speaking to mediapersons on his release from hospital. He also charged police officer Bhatt with harassing VHP workers at the behest of national political bosses in Delhi. ”In the last fifteen days, how many times has this officer spoken to the PMO”, he questioned, demanding that the call details be made public.
Togadia’s reference was to the unconventional move by a cop to contradict a national leader of an organization which is part of the country’s ruling Sangh Parivar hierarchy, even if not directly in the governance of the country. He alleged that over 20 people from the crime branch had descended on his close associate (ghanshyam)at 2 am and whisked him away to pressurize him to speak against me(Togadia).
The Crime branch cops did not come clean either. They first said that they were forming teams to investigate his disappearance but later came out with a statement that almost stated that he had faked his disappearance.
The crime branch had it’s own answering to do when the top VHP leader who has Z level security cover wanted to know as to how a Rajasthan police team received the backing of the Gujarat police to arrest him in a case which was withdrawn in 20I5.”I have spoken to the chief minister and other top political authorities in Rajasthan who have denied any knowledge of cops sent to arrest me. Then who came to arrest me and under whose instructions”, Togadia demanded to know adding that it seems Bhatt is acting under the influence of political bosses in Delhi.
Togadia was direct in pointing fingers at the prime minister, perhaps the first sangh parivar organ head to do so.’I would like to urge my old friend not to embark on a journey that would lead to the murder of democracy.’Is this crime branch or a conspiracy branch. I propose to initiate legal action against the crime branch which is releasing selective videos to tv channels to spoil my image. I want to inform the country that similar videos of RSS leader Sanjay Joshi were made thirteen years ago. I shall make known the names at the right time’, he warned.
There are many questions crying for an answer. Why did a pussy-footing Gujarat police-which did not have the guts to take on a drunk deputy chief minister’s son trying to board an international flight and turned back by the airlines- go overboard trying to contradict Togadia? This could not have been possible without clearance from either the chief minister or the home minister. Interestingly ,not a single BJP leader turned up to call on Togadia during his hospitalization. Why?.Obviously,there were bigger names at work.
Togadia is no practicing politician in the nature of most others in the BJP. One may disagree with his line of thought, but he remains a very dedicated and highly motivated Sangh cadre-man who has devoted his life even at a cost of his roaring medical practice, to the VHP.
Even the thought that he would resort to theatrics for the sake of cheap publicity is anathema. How come that decades old cases are springing to life after Togadia was re-elected to his post for a fresh term.
The fact is that someone, somewhere desperately wants him out of the way. Who and why? And therein hangs a tale !