The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dalit backlash threat to Togadia

New Delhi, Nov. 7: Confederation of SC/ST Organisations chairman Udit Raj today threatened to direct Dalits across the country to blacken the face of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Praveen Togadia for making “baseless” and “condemnable” allegations against him.

In a recent interview, Togadia had said: “Udit Raj is on the payroll of Christians, so when it is not possible to convert directly, in between they become Buddhists.”

Raj had converted to Buddhism last year along with thousands of Dalits to protest against caste oppression in Hinduism.

The Dalit leader challenged Togadia to substantiate his “baseless” allegation. On the other hand, he claimed, several RSS outfits and the VHP were getting funds from the US. “The VHP has a fund of Rs 700 crore and even their own Paramhans (at Ayodhya) had alleged that the VHP leaders had siphoned off money collected in the name of the shilanyas,” he alleged.

Addressing a press conference, the Dalit leader said Togadia was leader of only five per cent Hindus. “Lord Ram is not their role model and they don’t regard him, otherwise they would have not become power and media hungry at the cost of peace and harmony.”

“Togadia had said that certain portions of (the) Quran should be purged. First of all, he should purge (the) Vedas, Manusmriti, (the) Ramayan and (the) Mahabharat because they preach untouchability, discrimination against Dalits, women and others,” Raj said, adding that “discrimination against Dalits for more than 3,000 years is worse than jihad”.

“We are going to issue instructions to Dalits across the country to blacken Togadia’s face, hound him and gherao him,” said Raj. “Togadia is a goonda, (a) traitor, (an) uncultured ruffian,” he added.

Continuing the tirade, the Dalit leader said: “Mr Togadia should be put behind bars. Preaching hatred against Muslims, Christians and Dalits is anti-national activity and this may divide India like the USSR.”

Recalling that Togadia had called Sonia Gandhi names, he said: “Mr Praveen Togadia, if a women is a bitch, then the man is a dog.”

“He must behave himself. If nobody tries to discipline him, I will do (it),” Raj said, pointing out that “he is a goonda and he has been given security by the government”. “I am also being threatened. I get blank calls almost every day. I sought security and wrote to the Prime Minister and the home minister, but they have not given me security,” he complained.

He said his organisation will hold a rally at Delhi’s Ram Lila grounds on November 24 to focus on issues concerning Dalits, like conversion, the Jhajjar lynching, and also disinvestment and privatisation.

Raj warned the Sangh parivar that if violence against Dalits continued, more backward caste people would convert. More than 25,000 Dalits will embrace other religions in Chennai on December 6 in protest against the Tamil Nadu law against forcible conversions.

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