The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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VHP to take on Digvijay over Acharya arrest

Bhopal, March 21: Perturbed by the poor response following the arrest of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Acharya Dharmendra in Madhya Pradesh, the saffron brigade has decided to go on the offensive. It will play video-audio cassettes of his alleged inflammatory speech in all villages, court arrest and launch a state-wide agitation.

VHP general secretary Praveen Togadia has taken charge with the promise to convert Madhya Pradesh into Gujarat.

Dharmendra, at present languishing in Ujjain jail for allegedly making inflammatory remarks against the minority community, has refused to take bail or offer conditional apology.

He has also shooed away a feeler from the state Congress regime, saying he would not settle for anything less than an honourable acquittal and state transport facility till Jaipur.

Addressing a news conference here, Togadia dubbed chief minister Digvijay Singh “Aurangzeb”, and said: “Let him pack the jails of Madhya Pradesh with patriotic and peace-loving Hindus. The jihadis are going scot free in the state.”

Equating Acharya Dharmendra with Guru Ramdas, Togadia said: “Guru Ramdas prepared one Shivaji to take on Aurangzeb. We will prepare hundreds of Shivajis to take on Digvijay.”

The VHP leader challenged Digvijay to take action against all those who would be playing Dharmendra’s speech, made in Dewas two days before Holi.

“We want the people’s mandate. Let them hear and see what Acharyaji said,” he said.

Dharmendra was booked under Section 153(b) after local residents lodged a complaint saying his speech had hurt their religious sentiments. He will remain in judicial custody till March 28.

Questioning the chief minister’s locus standi of arresting the acharya, Togadia asserted that it was up to the courts to decide whether the VHP leader had made offensive remarks. “Why is Digvijay keeping him in jail' Why can the matter not be referred to a fast track court so that a verdict is given fast'” he asked. He cautioned the minorities to be careful and not to “fall in Digvijay’s trap”.

Giving a clean chit to Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu for releasing him within two hours at Anantpur with “full honour and dignity”, Togadia alleged that in contrast, Digvijay was getting vicarious pleasure in hurting the sentiments of the majority community.

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