Ramvilas Vedanti, a senior leader of the VHP, refuses to remain out of controversies for very long.
If last year he was caught in a sting operation by CNN-IBN alongwith many leading stalwarts of the spiritual world ‘explaining how he changes black money into white albeit with little bit of commission’, this year he reached headlines when he issued ‘death sentence to Mr Karunanidhi supposedly for ‘insulting Lord Ram’. One still remembers how he asked Muslims to ‘vacate’ the Parikrama area of Ayodhya after the ‘terrorist attack in Ayodhya’ with a specious argument that their presence in the area creates a feeling of insecurity. It is true that if one were to create a rating for making provocative statements then there would not be much controversy over the fact that Vedanti like his more famous colleagues in VHP will not remain far behind.
But the latest controversy is a bizarre one.
On 30 th August he lodged a complaint with the Faizabad police alleging that he is receiving death threats from SIMI and Al-Qaeda . The district administration promptly provided him with additional security and his mobile phone was placed under electronic surveillance to track down the miscreants. And lo and behold ! Forget Al Qaeda or SIMI, to everyone’s dismay the police caught Ramessh Tiwari, city president of Bajrang Dal in Katra and Pawan Pandey, a local convenor of Hindu Yuva Vahini from Katra in Gonda district.
The duo told the police that since their Guruji ( Ramvilas Vedanti) was not getting Z category security as enjoyed by VHP leaders like Ashok Singhal and Praveen Togadia, they took this step ‘after Guruji gave us the consent’. It was obvious that Vedanti did not press the police to take any legal action against them and the duo was promptly released. (Indian Express, 15 Sept 2008).
One can just imagine the mayhem followers of Vedanti could have created and how they could have tried to polarise the whole atmosphere on communal lines if the police had not shown alertness.
It was worth emphasising that recently a group of sadhus led by Mahant Yugal Kishore Shastri, who is a Mahant of Saryu Kunj temple which is adjacent to the disputed Ram temple in Ayodhya, demanded legal action against Vedanti. A memorandum signed by 100 sadhus has been despatched to the Chief Minister’s office demanding immediate arrest of Vedanti ‘for conspiring to create communal violence in Ayodhya and adjoining areas.’ It is also learnt that since Vedanti, an ex MP is also contemplating to contest the elections from Gonda, he was keen to create a riot type situation there.
A look down memory lane reveals that there was nothing ‘creative’ in the complaint lodged by Vedanti with the local police. In fact he was just copying one of his own colleagues from the Ram Mandir movement.
It was only last year that Anil Chamadia, a leading journalist, media critic and social activist in his column on media affairs in the hindi magazine ‘Kathadesh’ provided details of a similar case when Mahant Nrityagopal Dal of the Ramjanambhoomi Nyas supposedly received a threat ‘at the hands of the Al-Qaeda.’ The newspapers also took up the case of the threat received by him in a big way claiming it to be a failure on part of the government to provide security to ‘patriots’.Alongwith a fourty lined newsitem about this ‘threat’ a separate box item was added giving details of Ashok Singhal’s and Praveen Togadia’s reaction to the whole affair.
Mr Purushottam Narayan, a leader of the VHP even claimed that a ‘threat to the Mahant is a challenge thrown by Al-Qaeda before the whole Hindu society which necessiates ‘unity of Hindus at every level’.
The very next day truth about the whole affair was out. Santosh, one of the disciples of the Mahant was arrested in Haridwar and he revealed that he had himself written this letter as his Guruji (Nrityagopal Das) was not getting Z category security as enjoyed by VHP leaders like Ashok Singhal and Praveen Togadia. It was worth noting that the newspaper which had printed the ‘threat received by Nrityagopal Das did not deem it necessary to publish the denial of the charges.
One can just go on citing examples where close associates of the saffron brigade engage in acts which go to stigmatise particular communities and strengthening negative attitude towards them.
While the followers of Vedanti or Nritya Gopal Das tried to utilise and further buttress the threat posed by the likes of Al Qaeda or SIMI their other brethren in the Hindutva brigade have no qualms in engaging in real terrorist acts by taking up a fake identity resembling a member of a minority community.
The Nanded bomb blast on 6 th April 2006 which killed two activists of Bajrang Dal has demonstrated how these Hindu terrorists engage in meticulous preparations to fake their identity. The fake beards and clothes worn by the minority community recovered from the perpetrators of the act demonstrated the modus operandi of these fanatics.