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Updated: April 18, 2010 23:51 IST

SIT summons Togadia

Manas Dasgupta
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A file photo of Pravin Togadia.
The Hindu A file photo of Pravin Togadia.

The Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), probing nine relatively serious incidents of massacre during the post-Godhra communal riots in Gujarat and the Godhra train carnage, has reportedly summoned Vishwa Hindu Parishad international general secretary Pravin Togadia for questioning.

Dr. Togadia is believed to have been asked to appear before the SIT at its office here on any day during the coming week. A message to this effect from the SIT office was faxed to the VHP Delhi office, it is reliably learnt here.

Dr. Togadia is currently in Jammu and is not expected to return here in the next three days. Informed sources said if he chose to respond to the summons, he might appear before the probe team towards the week-end.

Even during the carnage, Dr. Togadia, a medical practioner, was holding the same office. The VHP had given a bandh call a day after the train carnage that led to widespread violence. After Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who appeared before the SIT last month, Dr. Togadia is considered to be the next key witnesses for the SIT that is trying to unravel the truth behind the violent incidents. A large number of VHP activists in the State are also accused in the riot cases.

The SIT had questioned the then Minister of State for Home, Gordhan Jhadaphia, besides a few other important present and former BJP and VHP leaders. It is learnt that the SIT has questioned Minister of State for Home Amit Shah, who was then only a member of the State Assembly and Speaker Ashok Bhatt, a close confidant of Mr. Modi. The latter was then the Health Minister.

PTI reports from Kathua (J&K):

Dr. Togadia said at a function in Kathua (J&K) that India must be declared as a “Hindu state” and such a move would end all ills, including the terror menace, plaguing it.

“The VHP wants creation of a Hindu nation on the pattern of England, the greatest democracy in the world, where only a protestant can become a ruler,” he said adding that if such a step was taken it would hardly make any difference whether the country was ruled by the BJP or the Congress. “India was a Hindu nation since Vedic times. We have to restore that status,” he said.

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