The Telangana police on Wednesday banished Hindu seer Swamy Paripoornananda from Hyderabad for six months over alleged inflammatory comments against Muslims, using the provisions of the Telangana Prevention of Anti-Social and Hazardous Activities Act, 1930, two days after it used the same law to banish Dalit activist Kathi Mahesh for a similar period of time for insulting Lord Ram.
The law allows the police to banish people through so-called externment.
Paripoornananda was picked up from his residence at Hyderabad’s Jubilee Hills, forced into a vehicle and sent to Kakinada in East Godavari district, where he runs a spiritual centre called Sri Peetham.
He was banished two days after the police put him under house arrest. An “externment order” issued against him late on Tuesday night said he was being banished for six months.
Paripoornananda is accused of making inflammatory comments against Muslims at meetings of his Rashtriya Hindu Sena , which he founded in November 2017.
The police had earlier banned Paripoornananda’s 60-km ‘Dharmika Chaitanya Yatra’ from Hyderabad to Yadadri temple in Bhongir district on Monday.
Paripoornananda had announced the yatra to protest popular Dalit film critic Kathi Mahesh’s comments against Lord Rama and Sita during a TV debate last week.
On Monday, the police banished Mahesh from Hyderabad to Chittoor district.
Telangana police chief M Mahender Reddy said the police would deal firmly with those who attempt to “disturb Hyderabad’s peaceful environment”. “Swamy Paripoornananda, in his speeches over the last few months, made several inflammatory comments against Muslims. He alleged that the police were showing partisan attitude against majority Hindu community,’’ Reddy added.
State Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president K Laxman condemned Paripoornananda’s house arrest and banishment. He said the party would take it up with BJP chief Amit Shah when he arrives in Hyderabad for a day-long visit on Friday and seek his intervention.
“How can the police banish a spiritual leader trying to propagate peace and Hinduism? The externment of Swamy is nothing but banishing the entire Hindu community.”
BJP national general secretary P Muralidhar Rao called the banishment an insult to Hindus and said it was intended to disturb social harmony.
BJP affiliate Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s state president Rama Raju and Bajrang Dal’s state president Subhash Chander threatened a state-wide agitation if the banishment is not revoked.
VHP, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, BJP and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad activists took out a rally in Rao’s hometown of Siddipet and burnt his effigy to protest the banishment of the seer.