Ahmedabad: Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) chief Pravin Togadia on Friday questioned why an Ahmedabad court issued an arrest warrant against him and 38 members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in a 21-year-old case when cases of stone-pelting on police and army personnel in Kashmir have been withdrawn, and claimed that people from outside the state were attempted to trap him.

Togadia, who appeared in court on Friday, said Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani and deputy chief minister Nitin Patel were not aware of the developments and that people outside Gujarat had intimated the police about his presence in the city. “I know the people who have set this trap, but I will answer them when the time comes. I have been raising my voice to build a Ram temple, to form a civil code, for support prices for farmers, for employment for Hindu youth. This trial is meant to suppress my voice. I have been coming to Ahmedabad every month, and I don’t know why warrants haven’t reached me before. This should be investigated,” he said.

The Ahmedabad metropolitan court on Thursday issued non-bailable warrants against a total of 39 people in a case of attempt to murder dating back to 1996. The case was filed by former BJP legislator Jagrupsinh Rajput at the Naranpura police station in connection with the attack on party leader Atmaram Patel in which one person was killed. The case was later transferred to the Ahmedabad crime branch.

Togadia has also denied receiving any summons and said the court directly issued the arrest warrants. The others against whom warrants have been issued include BJP legislator Babu Jamna Patel and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) official Krushnavadan Brahmbhatt.

VHP leaders believe the warrant was issued after Togadia won re-election as president of the organization in Bhubaneswar on 30 December against a candidate from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), leading to a possible rift in relations between the VHP chief and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.