Allowed VHP to defy ban as a strategy to avoid crowds turning violent: Police
Bengaluru, Feb 9: A contingent of 1,800 policemen, with specific intelligence inputs of the likelihood of VHP leader Praveen Togadia’s speech video being aired, failed to not only prevent the relay of the speech but also to cut it short.
A major portion of the speech was aired at the venue of the Virat Hindu Samajotsava on Sunday evening, in open defiance of the Police Commissioner’s order banning any video of Mr. Togadia’s speech. The organisers of the programme hoodwinked the cops as they concluded the programme with a vote of thanks, which made the police drop their guard. Soon, the speech video started airing on the LCD screens.
Additional Commissioner (Law and Order) Alok Kumar and Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) Lokesh Kumar rushed to the stage to stop the relay of the speech. However, the organisers did not let the officials on the stage and delayed action to buy time. It was 12 minutes before the video was cut short.
A blame game has already begun. A State intelligence official told The Hindu, “We had specifically asked the police to deploy men in the temporary media control room next to the stage so that they can abort any such attempt. However, none were deployed there.”
Senior police officials, who declined to come on record, conceded their failure to prevent the airing of Praveen Togadia’s video speech, but defended their action saying they were “deliberately lenient” as a strategy to avoid crowds turning violent.
“The organisers tried provoking us by airing the speech. We would have played into their hands if there was any crackdown or use of force and the crowds would have turned violent. But, stringent legal action will now follow,” a senior official said.
Togadia sent back
In a dramatic turn of events post midnight on Saturday, Praveen Togadia, international working president of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, entered the city limits unauthorisedly. This led to a fracas between him and the police, who tried to arrest him.
Mr. Togadia, who has been banned from entering Bengaluru, reportedly sat on the street in protest against the attempts by police officials to apprehend him.
A heated argument ensued between Mr. Togadia, his supporters and the city police, who wanted to arrest him for violating court orders.
The VHP leader had sought transit permission from Police Commissioner M.N. Reddi to land at Kempegowda International Airport on Saturday afternoon and proceed to Hosur by road, which was granted.
After addressing a public rally at Hosur, he returned to KIA for which he had no permission.
As per an earlier schedule, he was supposed to proceed to Chennai from Hosur. However, Mr. Togadia returned to KIA. Mr. Reddi said that after the matter was brought to his notice, he allowed Mr. Togadia to enter the city only for transit to KIA, though he had no prior permission.
The situation returned to normal only after the Commissioner’s approval, allowing Mr. Togadia to go the airport, from where he flew to Ahmedabad.