PIL filed against Togadia ban; Raijung court allows stay

276301-pravin-togadiaKOLKATA: In Raigunj court on Thursday put an interim stay on promulgation of 144 CrPC for a public meeting in North Dinajpur district which VHP international working president Pravin Togadia was to attend on April 5. In a related development, a PIL was also filed in the Calcutta High Court by a lawyer seeking a direction on the state to lift the preventive orders on Togadia. 

In an order, the day before, the state home secretary Basudeb Banerjee, it was said, “Prohibitory orders under Section 144 CRPC have been promulgated throughout the state prohibiting entry of Praveen Bhai Togadia…. District magistrates and police commissioners, on the basis of information available with them, apprehend that his holding meetings/rallies will lead to communal tension. These orders will be strictly enforced and Praveen Bhai Togadia is prohibited from entering any district or police commissionarate in Bengal.” 

Togadia had himself confirmed that he was scheduled to attend a VHP rally of more than 2000 people in North Dinajpur district on April 5. VHP North Dinajpur district vice-president Tejendra Narayan Bose had moved the court of seeking a stay on the promulgation of Section 144 CrPC for the meeting. Additional District Sessons Judge Uttam Kumar Shaw granted an interim stay on the prohibitory order. “Beside the prohibitory order, the administration has also cancelled the permission for our April 5 rally at Raiganj in North Dinajpur district which Togadia was to address. We are in the process of approaching the Calcutta High Court today (Thursday) against both,” VHP general secretary organisation (East) Sachindra Nath Sinha said. “The prohibitory order is arbitrary and against the law. We are moving to the court today (Thursday) challenging the legality,” added Sinha. Later counsel A Sarengi, who is Kolkata Mahanagar secretary of VHP, said he has filed the petition before the Calcutta High Court in personal capacity. The court is expected to hear the matter on April 7. 

In addition, the Rampurhat police has slapped several non-bailable penal sections against Togadia over an alleged conversion incident back in January 28. It was alleged in the FIR that he had hurt religious sentiments following the alleged conversion of over 100 tribals in Birbhum’s Kharmadanga. Togadia has called the prohibitory order a “blunder” and “funny”. 

Congress leader Manas Bhuniya also questioned the ban. “Can she (Mamata Banerjee) be able to resist him (Togadia) from propagating his ideals by imposing such a ban? Will her government be able to keep him away from his followers by promulgating such a ban?” Bhuniya said. “There can be a political battle against his ideals and opinions. Ban could never yield any solution,” he said. 

Source: The Times of India