The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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VHP calls off yatra, to go door to door

Ahmedabad, Nov. 18: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has decided not to take out its Vijay Yatra in Gujarat till December 12, the day of polling for the Assembly, but will continue holding its Jan Jagran programmes, according to the organisation’s international general secretary Praveen Togadia.

“No one can stop us from holding yagnas and door-to-door Jan Jagran (mass awakening) campaigns in all the 18,000 villages in the state,” asserted the VHP leader.

Togadia regretted that the VHP could not take out the Vijay Yatra. “We are sad that we are not allowed to go ahead with our programme. But we are not the only ones who are sad. Our secularist friends are equally disappointed, of course for different reasons,” he claimed.

Togadia refused to consider his Padshahi Yatra a failure. “As there was no untoward incident after our programme on Sunday, those secularists who loved to call us Hindu Taliban have lost face,” he explained.

The VHP leader denied that the organisation’s plan to take out a yatra from Godhra to Akshardham was aimed at mobilising Hindus to support the BJP during the Assembly polls, saying “elections are not the ultimate goal”.

He, however, he did not elaborate why the VHP intended to launch a mass-contact and Jan Jagran programme, organise yagnas, dharma sabhas and show audio/video cassettes of speeches by him and Acharya Dharmendra in all villages of the state.

Special shows of addresses by Togadia and Acharya Dharmendra, known for their fiery and provocative speeches, will be organised throughout the state, the VHP leader said.

“Video cassettes of speeches by Acharya Dharmendra and myself will be distributed in all the 18,000 villages as we cannot be present everywhere,” he explained.

“Audio cassettes of our religious-awakening sermons will be prepared and distributed on November 24, December 1 and December 8. All issues pertaining to Hindutva will be addressed through these tapes,” Togadia said.

More than 2,000 sadhus and five lakh VHP workers will join in the Jan Jagran campaign, to be held in memory of the 58 Rambhakts burnt alive in the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express in Godhra.

The third part of the proposed programme will be the Ram Yagnas in all the villages on fullmoon nights, Togadia added.

Sadhvi Ritambhara and VHP chief Ashok Singhal are among senior leaders expected to visit Gujarat during the Jan Jagran programme to address dharma sabhas.

“The pledge during the programme will be ‘I am Shivaji’, pay tribute to all the Hindus who died in Godhra and prevent temples from becoming Akshardhams, villages from becoming Godhra, Gujarat from being Kashmir and India from being Pakistan,” said Togadia.

Regarding the possibility of being arrested or stopped again for conducting such programmes, Togadia said: “I challenge anybody to stop us. There is a limit to how much we can be curbed.”

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