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Togadia snubs court

Bangalore, Feb. 13: Praveen Togadia today cocked a snook at both the Congress-led government in Karnataka and the state high court.

If his presence at the massive Hindu Samavesh rally at Mangalore was embarrassing for the government, which wanted to ban the VHP general secretary from entering the state, his speech virtually challenged the high court.

The court had earlier in the day struck down the government’s order banning Togadia’s entry. But it had attached a rider — that the VHP leader’s speech should not be “derogatory to any religion or community” or “incite communal passions in the assembly”. The VHP had approached the high court challenging the government’s order.

But not only did Togadia talk about Ayodhya and the VHP’s plans to build the Ram temple at the earliest, he repeated what he has said often — “Muslim madarsas all over the country should be banned because they are factories producing terrorists”.

He also said courts could not decide on the mandir-masjid controversy as Hindu sants and mahants would deliver the final decision on the matter.

Under fire within the VHP for demanding that India support the war on Iraq, he steered clear of the subject today. In another turnaround, he praised Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for “dharma raksha (protecting religion)”.

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