TAMIL NADU

Togadia to distribute `trishuls'

MADURAI OCT. 26. Though the district administration maintained that no request came from any organisation seeking permission for holding functions to be addressed by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's international general secretary, Praveen Togadia, here on October 30, the parishad and its ally, the Bharatiya Forward Bloc, today confirmed his plans of participating in the `gurupooja' celebrations at Pasumpon in Ramanathapuram district and distributing `trishuls' to his supporters in the temple city.

The Collector, B.Chandra Mohan, replying to a query at a press conference here said he had not received any official intimation about Mr. Togadia's visit. But the district administration would consider any request made by any outfit, he added.

Replying to another question, he denied that the administration received any representation to withhold permission for the VHP leader's functions. However, some organisations "expressed concern about his visit."

Meanwhile the district VHP president, R.Soma Sundaram, told newsmen that the State parishad already announced that Mr.Togadia would pay homage at the samadhi of the late Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar on October 30. On his return to Madurai, he would hold discussions with various community leaders at 5 p.m. Though it was not the main purpose of his visit, Mr.Togadia would distribute `tirshuls', under the auspices of BFB, on the Tamukkam grounds here. "The VHP has nothing to do with the proposed distribution of `trishuls'. Had we decided to do so, we will give away at least 10,000 `trishuls' to our activists", Mr.Soma Sundaram said.

Justifying Mr.Togadia's participation in the `gurupooja' celebrations, he said the late Thevar had treated spiritualism and patriotism as his two eyes, which was akin to the VHP policy. The parishad decided to participate in the `gurupooja' only to bring to light the greatness of Thevar, who envisioned the liberation of not only India but also the entire South-East Asia from the British rule, he said.

The BFB founder-president, K.A.Murugan, said Mr.Togadia would distribute `trishuls' to him and ten others. "Nobody can find fault with the VHP leader as `trishul' is only a religious symbol of the Hindus". His party decided to join hands with the Sangh Parivar to "counter attempts to confine the late Thevar's fame in a casteist cocoon," he claimed.

Opposing Mr.Togadia's visit, the Joint Action Council against communalism, decided to hold a public meeting here tomorrow evening. Leaders of the Congress, the CPI (M), the CPI, the Janata Dal (Secular), the Devendra Ilaignar Sangam, the CPI (M-L), the TMMK and the AIDWA would address the meeting, according to the JAC sources.

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