Mumbai: In line of fire over his alleged hate speech, VHP leader Praveen Togadia on Saturday said he was ready to go to jail for the sake of Hindutva. "I am ready to go to jail...I am ready to do anything for Hindutva," Togadia, who is at the Kumbh Mela, told PTI over phone. "It is no crime to speak in the interest of the country," he said.
Maharashtra Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Venkatesh Abdeo, on whose phone the call was made, threatened, "There will be severe reaction all over the country if Togadia is arrested. Togadia has not done anything wrong by speaking about Akbaruddin Owaisi." He also dared the government to arrest Togadia "if it has guts."
A case has been filed at a police station in Nanded in connection with the hate speech allegedly made by Togadia last month. On Friday, Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil had said that the state government was seeking legal opinion on taking further action against Togadia.
Maharashtra Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Venkatesh Abdeo threatened of severe reaction \'all over the country if Togadia is arrested\'.
"We are seeking legal opinion because we don't want to crush anybody's freedom of expression," Patil had said. The minister had said the government would not tolerate anybody making inflammatory speeches and sowing seeds of hatred in the society.
At a public meeting at Bhokar town in Maharashtra's Nanded district on January 22, Togadia had allegedly attacked Hyderabad-based Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen legislator Akbaruddin Owaisi. Owaisi was later sent to jail on charges of delivering a hate speech at Nirmal town in Andhra Pradesh's Adilabad district last month.
The VHP leader had also triggered a controversy by making an alleged speech on February 1 near Adilabad in Andhra Pradesh.