Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) international working president Pravin Togadia's entry into Udupi in Karnataka's coastal district has been banned for a week from Sunday to maintain peace and law and order in the area, police said."We have banned Togadia's entry into this temple town till March 13 under section 144(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to ensure peace and social harmony," Udupi district Superintendent of Police K. Annamalai told IANS.The temple town is about 400 km away Bengaluru.
Though the ban sparked protests by right wing activists in the coastal region, including Mangaluru, the police were firm on not allowing the controversial leader from entering the district or the pilgrim town."We have permitted the organisers of Hindu Samjotsava to hold a rally in the city peacefully on Monday, but barred Togadia from entering the district, as we do not want him to cause trouble by making provocative speech against anyone irrespective of religion, castes and community," Annamalai said.The district authorities also stepped up vigil in the town and the venue by deploying additional force to regulate the crowds at the rally and monitor their movement through closed circuit television cameras.
Togadia's entry into Bengaluru was banned a month ago for a similar rally on an order from the state government, which was upheld by the Karnataka High Court.The organisers, however, defied the ban and screened a video clip on Togadia's fiery speech at the fag end of the event on February 9 when most of the people gathered for the occasion had disbursed and the police was caught off-guard."The organisation has gone to the high court for lifting the ban and allowing Togadia's entry, claiming that he did not create any law and order during his earlier visits to the state, including the coastal region," Annamalai added.The case is slated for hearing here on Monday."The ban on our leader is unwarranted and is aimed at hurting sentiments of thousands of people at the behest of the Congress government, which is anti-Hindu," VHP's district president Suprasad Shetty told reporters at Udupi.Togadia addressed a similar rally at Udupi in 2003 without causing provocation or law and order problem.