The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Togadia in custody, trains guns on Sonia

Jaipur, April 14: VHP leader Praveen Togadia breathed fire as he was remanded in judicial custody today, terming his arrest the fallout of the “Aurangzeb policy of the Gehlot government” and pinning the blame for the trishul ban on the “anti-Hindu trio” of the Congress.

Togadia was picked up late last night near Kishangarh, 40 km from Ajmer, after he defied prohibitory orders and the Congress-run state government’s ban on distribution of trishuls. The court of judicial magistrate Lata Gaur earlier turned down police request for his custody.

Speaking to reporters, the firebrand leader placed Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her aides Vincent George and Ahmad Patel in his gun sights, claiming they were the masterminds behind chief minister Ashok Gehlot’s ban decision.

Even the Indian Penal Code did not consider a trident less than six inches in length a weapon, he said. But the Gehlot regime considered itself a cut above the IPC, and had to go a step further, he alleged.

Claiming the ban was against the religious sentiment of Hindus, Togadia declared that come what may, the VHP would protect the dignity of the trishul. The outfit would shortly launch a statewide campaign, he said, during which saffron flags with tridents printed would be distributed in all villages. People would pledge to work for the Ram temple and defeat of anti-trishul forces in front of the flag.

Togadia continued to rant, claiming that men and women would soon begin wearing T-shirts and saris with tridents printed on them. Not only that, women would even use trident-shaped clips in their hair, he said.

Demanding to know to what extent the Gehlot government would go to enforce the ban, Togadia threatened: “The devotees of Mother Durga and Lord Shiva would fill the jails of the state.”

As Togadia wagged his finger at the government, sources said the VHP leadership was contemplating holding dharam sabhas at temples to continue the trident distribution.

The VHP has also called a Rajasthan bandh tomorrow to protest Togadia’s arrest and the ban on tridents.

Three other leaders of the organisation were picked up in the wee hours today on the same charges as against Togadia.

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