Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Praveen Togadia tried to outdo Akbaruddin Owaisi within a fortnight of the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) MLA being sent to jail on charges of delivering a hate speech at Nirmal town in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh.
At a public meeting at Bhokar town in Nanded district of Maharashtra, just 80 km from Nirmal, on January 22 — details of which are now emerging after a video-recording was posted online — Togadia attacked Owaisi in particular and Muslims in general.
The VHP leader was lustily cheered by the gathering as he continued with his inflammatory speech, just as Owaisi’s speech was received with cheers by an enthusiastic audience on December 22, 2012.
A police complaint was filed against Togadia in Hyderabad on Tuesday after clippings of his speech went viral on social networking sites.
The clippings showed Togadia thundering about what happened in Nelli (Assam), Bhagalpur (Bihar) and in Gujarat, where the police stood aside as Muslims were massacred. “Ours is not a religion of cowards,” Dr. Togadia said, “but of Goddess Bhavani, who always has weapons in her hands.”
This was evidently a response to Owaisi’s challenge at Nirmal to withdraw police forces for 15 minutes.
Besides the nature of the speeches by Owaisi and Togadia, there are other similarities too. Complainants in both cases approached the police and the courts on the basis of video clippings on the YouTube.
Also, the police at both Nirmal and Bhokar towns remained unaware of the explosive content of the speeches despite monitoring the events. In Owaisi’s case, a suo motu case was booked by Nirmal police on January 2 — 11 days after his speech.
Nanded district police said they did not find anything amiss with the Bhokar public meeting.
When contacted on the phone, Bhokar Inspector of Police Sandeep Triyambak Munde said police had issued permission for the meeting held at the Zilla Parishad ground.