Togadia sees conspiracy in him going into hiding

Togadia sees conspiracy in him going into hiding

Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Pravin Togadia, who had gone missing on Monday, charged on Tuesday that there was an attempt to muzzle his voice for raising issues such as construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya, right price for farmers' produce, resettlement of Kashmiri Pandits and curbing cow slaughter.

Known for his acidic language, the 62-year-old Togadia was surprisingly tearful during his interaction with mediapersons. Togadia claimed that he had gone into hiding on his own volition fearing an encounter by police.

Togadia's disappearance had created confusion as police issued statements that Rajasthan Police had indeed reached Gujarat to execute an arrest warrant against Togadia under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of IPC but had returned empty handed as they could not find him at his residence.

Feared encounter

"I was performing my pooja when a gentleman rushed in and said that I leave my office immediately as a team of Rajasthan and Gujarat police was on its way to kill me in an encounter," Togadia said. He said he left after informing the static guard he is entitled to under Z-plus security. "I then hailed an autorickshaw and with VHP worker went towards Thaltej area of the city. I connected with Rajasthan Home Minister and Chief Minister, who told me they were not aware of any police team having left the state to arrest him. Apprehending the worst I switched off my mobile phones so that I cannot be traced," he claimed.

Togadia said that he contacted his lawyers in Rajasthan to get the arrest warrant cancelled. However, when they told him it was difficult, he decided to fly down to Jaipur. "However, when I was in an autorickshaw going towards airport, I felt dizzy and fell unconscious. I have no recollection after that," he said.

The Opposition Congress for its part has sought detailed investigation into the episode. None of the leaders from ruling BJP or its ideological parent organisation RSS visited Togadia at hospital, it is learnt.

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