VHP leader Pravin Togadia barred from making speeches in Assam

Guwahati: Assam Police Thursday prevented Praveen Togadia from delivering speeches in two places in the state, even as Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said his government has not imposed any ban on the VHP leader.

Togadia was supposed to address two Hindu Mahasabhas in Nalbari and Guwahati.

However, when the Viswa Hindu Parishad leader arrived Thursday at the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International (LGBI) airport in Guwahati from Silchar, he was handed a letter by the city police saying he would not be allowed to speak in any public meeting as it might "disturb public peace and order in Guwahati and other areas in a serious manner".

Pravin TogadiaVHP leader Pravin Togadia

Before reaching Guwhati, Togadia had addressed a public meeting in Patharkandi in Karimganj district, where he reportedly encouraged religious minority groups to convert to Hinduism.

"... Praveen Togadia is likely to make similar inflammatory speeches if allowed to address the meeting in Guwahati, thereby disturbing public peace and order in Guwahati and other areas in a serious manner," said the letter issued by the Guwahati Police Commissionerate.

"... in exercise of the powers conferred upon me under section 144 of the criminal procedure code, I do hereby direct Praveen Togadia to abstain from attending the meeting, making any speech therein or making an inflammatory speech through any media in any part of the city," Commissioner of Police Jyotirmoy Chakravarty was quoted as saying in the letter.

VHP leaders in Guwahati said they had taken permission for Togadia's public meeting.

"We had taken prior permission from the administration for organising the public meeting to be addressed by the VHP leader. It's a conspiracy to debar our leader from speaking at a public place," said VHP leader Abhijit Deka.

He said the Nalbari district administration also locked the venue in Nalbari town, where Togadia was supposed to address a public meeting.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Gogoi Thursday said there was no ban or restriction imposed by the government on the VHP leader.

"We have not banned him as yet. We want him to deliver his speech so that people of Assam know how communal he is," Gogoi told newsmen on the sidelines of a programme in Guwahati.

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