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'Encounter' fear stalks even Togadia

VHP international working president Pravin Togadia during a press conference at Chandramani Hospital in Ahmedabad on Tuesday. PTI Photo

New Delhi: Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Pravin Togadia on Tuesday said "some people" were trying to frame him in false cases and even get him killed in a fake encounter as he recalled events a day after his mysterious disappearance before being found unconscious.

Togadia, who is not on good terms with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP leadership, said he had heard that a police team from party-ruled Rajasthan had arrived in Ahmedabad on Monday to arrest him in an old case.

"I am being targeted in a decade-old case, there is an attempt to suppress my voice. A Rajasthan police team came to arrest me. Then one person came to me and told me there was a plan to kill me in an encounter," the VHP international working president told reporters from his hospital bed.

The allegations came in the backdrop of a turf war and an unsuccessful attempt by a powerful lobby in the ruling establishment to remove Togadiafrom his post.

Togadia had disappeared on Monday morning and found unconscious in a park late in the night and admitted to hospital, his sugar level alarmingly low. But he had recovered enough this morning to throw some light on Monday's events.

Togadia said after he learnt of the alleged plan to kill him, he had contacted Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia and home minister Gulab Chand Kataria. "They told me they were not aware about any police team being sent to arrest him," he said, indicating that he panicked after this.

"When I realised the CM and home minister are denying the police action, I switched off all my mobile phones so that my location could not be traced. But later I got to know that they (the police) have come with an arrest warrant," Togadia said, tears in his eyes, as he alleged a conspiracy by "some people" to eliminate him.

Togadia did not say who were conspiring to eliminate him but it is widely known that the VHP leader is not on good terms with the current BJP leadership.

Rajasthan police have acknowledged that a team had gone to arrest Togadia but couldn't find him at his residence. The case is related to alleged disobedience of an order promulgated by a public servant.

The police are still to unravel how Togadia reached the park, about 15km from the VHP office where he stayed, but is believed to have taken an auto-rickshaw after stepping out.

Togadia said he was not bothered about his life and would continue to raise his voice for the rights of Hindus and that nobody should try to suppress it.

"For years I have been raising my voice for the Hindus and for a Ram temple, banning of cow slaughter and doubling the income of farmers. I would urge the police not to act under political pressure. I will abide by the law and appear in court," he said.

Patidar leader Hardik Patel and Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia called on Togadia on Tuesday. Both said they had visited him in their personal capacity despite their ideological differences.

"He (Togadia) has raised issues about a threat of a fake encounter. If a person with Z-plus security is not safe in Gujarat, then you can imagine the condition of law and order in the state," Modhwadia said.

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