CEC says matter under police investigation

Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Praveen Togadia created a controversy when he was caught on camera exhorting supporters in Bhavnagar not to allow Muslims buy property in Hindu localities, prompting the Election Commission to seek a copy of the recording on Monday.

The Congress moved the Commission, while several other parties, including the BJP’s ally Akali Dal, condemned Mr. Togadia’s remarks. The BJP distanced itself from him, stating that he was not a member of the party.

The party also had to contend with a defiant Bihar leader Giriraj Singh, who reiterated his statement that critics of the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, should go to Pakistan.

Bhavnagar Collector Pravin Solanki said the police would take cognisance of Mr. Togadia’s remarks, made on Saturday, and register a case. Responding to a query, Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath said the matter was under police investigation.

In footage aired by a TV channel, Mr. Togadia is heard saying: “In many places in India, there is a conspiracy by Muslims to first buy one house at a high price and then buy Hindu houses at half the price. There are two ways to stop this. One is to pressure the government to implement the Disturbed Areas Act, which is operational in Ahmedabad and other cities. The Act was brought in by the earlier Congress government. When the Act is in operation, Muslims cannot buy property in Hindu-majority areas. The other way is to encroach and put up a board of the Bajrang Dal and leave the legal fight for later.”

Mr. Togadia termed the media reports about his controversial remarks “false, mala fide and mischievous.” He said legal notices had been issued by his lawyer to media houses in Delhi and Gujarat.

RSS, the BJP’s ideological mentor, denied that Mr. Togadia made the hate speech.

More In: National | News