VHP’s Praveen Togadia demands stipend for priests instead of Imams in West Bengal

Kolkata(PTI): The Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s (VHP) international working president Praveen Togadia has condemned West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s move of providing a monthly stipend of Rs 2,500 to the state’s Imams or the clergy. Togadia has instead, demanded that the stipend be given to priests and unemployed Hindus.

“Banerjee talks about reservation of Muslims. Why is she providing the Imams a stipend from the tax we pay when so many Hindus are unemployed in the state. Instead, she should provide purohits with the stipend,” Togadia said while speaking at VHP’s first-ever Hindu sammelan in Kolkata on Saturday.

This gathering was part of the VHP’s golden jubilee celebrations and top guns from the saffron pantheon, including RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat were present at the rally. BJP state president Rahul Sinha also attended the rally. Contentious issues such as stipends for Imams in the state, religion conversion, Bangladeshi infiltration and cow slaughter dominated Togadia’s speech.

Taking a dig at the Bengal government for failing to curb illegal infiltration of Bangladeshis into Bengal and Assam, he said, “These infiltrators pose a hazard to the national security of the country. This should be stopped immediately.”

He also demanded an anti-conversion law to be drafted after the recent Agra conversion invited a lot of flak from the opposition parties. “If people are raising questions on ‘ghar wapasi’, why are they not demanding an anti-conversion law to be drafted? We demand an anti-conversion law for more clarity. Why is Mulayam Singh Yadav not demanding an anti-conversion law?” he added.

In addition, Bhagwat in his speech, also reiterated what Togadia said.