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Sarvodaya leader criticises Singhal's tirade against papers

By Our Special Correspondent

JAIPUR DEC. 6. The veteran Sarvodaya leader and winner of this year's Jamnalal Bajaj Award, Siddhraj Dhadda, has expressed concern over observations made by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader, Ashok Singhal, against three English newspapers, including The Hindu, in Hyderabad the other day. "The observations smack of the dictatorial tendencies of the Sangh Parivar. The VHP leader seemingly has lost his balance of mind,'' Mr. Dhadda said in a statement here today.

Mr. Dhadda said the tirade against The Hindu, The Times of India and The Indian Express by Mr. Singhal and another VHP functionary, G. Pulla Reddy, at a press conference was indicative of the level of intolerance these leaders had in their attitude towards society in general and the media in particular. "Are they the ones who would tell the newspapers what should be their editorial policy?'' Mr. Dhadda asked.

Taking serious objection to Mr. Singhal referring to these newspapers as "traitors'', the nonagenarian Dhadda, who edits the Sarvodaya newsletter, Satyagrah Meemansa, felt that the VHP leader should be more careful with words. "Instead of calling others traitors, Mr. Singhal should carefully examine the possible outcome of his activities and decide whether they are in national interest,'' he said. Challenging Mr. Singhal's claim that the VHP volunteers were no fundamentalists as they do not carry AK-47 rifles and they believed in peace, Mr. Dhadda said the "trishuls'' carried by the followers of Hindutva were proving a lethal weapon.

Moreover, the public utterances of Mr. Singhal, another VHP leader, Pravin Togadia, and the Shiv Sena chief, Bal Thackeray, always tended to incite violence and create disharmony in society. "No sensible newspaper can support their action,'' he said.

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