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Hate speech: Why is Praveen Togadia not in jail, asks Tavleen Singh
Police in Hyderabad have registered a complaint against Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Praveen Togadia, accusing him of giving a hate speech in Andhra Pradesh in the last week of January. According to various media reports, Hyderabad Police has received a complaint on the basis of a YouTube video, in which Togadia is seen gloating about 'killing Muslims by thousands in Assam, Bhagalpur, Meerut and Moradabad'.

The police are examining the authenticity of the video which has gone viral on the Internet. The alleged hate speech was reportedly delivered on 22 January at Bhokar in Nanded district of Maharashtra, 25 km away from Maharashtra border. And the Hyderabad police are verifying whether the case falls under their jurisdiction.

Apparently meant to reply MIM legislator who is judicial custody for alleged hate speech, Togadia can be heard saying in the speech that “there is a dog in Hyderabad, who has now become a lion”. Without naming Owaisi, he continues his crass speech amidst loud cheers from the audience.

“He said remove the police and then see. I want to tell him that there were many occasions when police was not there. Do you remember the place in Assam called Nelli, 3000 died when police was not there. And none of the dead were Hindu. Twenty years back in Bihar's Bhagalpur same thing had happened when police was not there. One had witnessed number of bodies floating in Ganges and again none of the bodies were of any Hindu. When police was not there same thing happened in UP's Meerut, Moradabad. In Gujarat police was there and even after that see what had happened. Those who have courage in their bloods are Hindu, however only cowards have left Hinduism,” Togadia can he heard as saying in the video, available on YouTube.

There was a widespread outrage when Owaisi had given his share of alleged hate speech and the pressure was built on police, which resulted in his arrest. It has to be seen what action police takes in this particular case. Pertinently, there is a pile of complaints against the VHP leader, based on his earlier provocative speeches.

Notably the police have already said that it may take them few days before they could take any action further as the verification of video and resolving jurisdiction issue is their first priority.

Even though moderate in comparison to outrage over Owaisi’s alleged speech, the demand for strict action against the VHP leader is growing fast. Noted media personality Tavleen Singh said that Togadia should be in jail for his ‘hate speech’. “Why is Praveen Togadia not in jail? His speech celebrating the massacre of Muslims was as clear an incitement to violence as ever made,” Singh tweeted.

Rahul Kanwal, a renowned TV journalist has also demanded action against Togadia while terming his statement “incorrect”. “Don't care about abuse. Either from extreme left or right. What Praveen Togadia said was not right. Dangerously divisive. Action must follow,” Kanwal tweeted.

Ramesh Sharma, a film maker and founder of Moving Picture Company MPC) went to the extent of saying that Togadia is a “blot” on Hinduism. “And how about arresting Praveen Togadia- the most foul mouthed Hindu bigot there ever was. A blot on Hinduism!” tweeted Sharma.

Not only renowned personalities but commoners have also demanded action against Togadia for his alleged hate speech. “Basically Praveen Togadia and Akbaruddin Owaisi are two names of one man. That man has split personality disorder,” tweeted Dipankar Dasgupta.

“Praveen Togadia is as venomous as Owaisi. But there's not equal outrage for Togodia as it deserved.All seculars here need an introspection,” Jagatjit, a user with tweet handle @Thejagatjit tweeted.

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