Book us for sedition: VHP leader challenges Modi

November 5th, 2008 - 8:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Narendra ModiAhmedabad, Nov 5 (IANS) The war of words between Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the state unit of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad is escalating with the arrest of a senior VHP leader on the charge of sedition.Ahmedabad VHP general secretary Ashwin Patel allegedly circulated derogatory and defamatory SMSs against Modi and the state government after the July 26 serial bombings here, in which 56 people were killed.

Last week, the Gandhinagar police crime branch arrested him on charges of sedition, defamation and inflaming communal passions. He was also booked by the Gandhinagar police in yet another offence on a complaint filed by the Regional Transport Office (RTO) for allegedly giving a bogus residential address.

“The Gujarat government is targeting Ashwin Patel on trumped up charges. There were no SMSs sent by Patel nor had he purchased any SIM card. Someone has impersonated him,” said VHP Gujarat unit president Dilip Trivedi.

“The VHP holds the Gujarat government responsible (for Patel’s arrest). Since he has been booked under a non-bailable offence, it is totally politically motivated,” Trivedi told IANS here.

“The VHP workers from across Gujarat sent SMSs against the Modi government on Tuesday. In a democracy we have the right to protest. If Ashwin is booked for sedition, then book all of us too,” Trivedi said.

“The VHP has never believed in sending SMSes or doing anything secretly. When (senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader) L.K. Advani went to Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s mazaar (in Pakistan in 2005), we protested openly,” Trivedi said.

Asked if Modi was behind Patel’s arrest, all Trivedi would say was that the Gujarat government had let loose a terror campaign and he would not name any individual. “Someone somewhere has made up his mind,” he said.

VHP general secretary Kaushik Mehta said the Modi government was anti-Hindu.

“When terrorists are attacking the country, state governments are competing with one another over how many Hindus and Hindu saints they can arrest under some pretext or the other,” he said.

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