Goa defends ban on ‘rabble-rouser’ Hindu group chief

New Delhi, May 21 (IANS) The Goa government on Monday said Rashtriya Hindu Sena chief Pramod Muthalik is a rabble-rouser who incites religious violence, as it defended ban on his entry into the state since 2014.

Describing Muthalik as a “religious fanatic”, advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai told a vacation bench of Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Navin Sinha that there are 50 criminal cases pending against him.

The Rashtriya Hindu Sena is a parent body of the Sri Ram Sene, notorious for indulging in moral policing and attacking perceived opponents.

Dehadrai pointed to the ongoing month of Ramadan as Muthalik’s lawyer told the bench about the Hindu leader’s scheduled visit to the state to address a religious function.

The Goa government’s description of Muthalik came in the course of the hearing of a plea by Muthalik, challenging the September 2017 ban on his entry into the coastal state which has since been extended twice in the current year.

“How long you can continue, that is the point he is making,” the court asked the Goa counsel.

At the outset of the hearing, the court described it as infructuous, pointing out that the order banning his entry in the state has since lapsed.

As Muthalik’s lawyer said the ban has been extended twice since then, the court asked him to place the copies of those two orders on record and challenge them.

Muthalik’s lawyer contested the submission by the Goa counsel that 50 criminal cases were pending against him, telling the court that he has already been acquitted.

At this, Dehadrai told the court that remedy against those two orders did not lie before the top court but should approach the high court first.

The court directed the next hearing of the matter in the first week of August.

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