New Delhi, Jul 17 (PTI) Rabindra Narain Singh, an orthopaedic surgeon and a Padma Shri awardee, was elected as the president of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Saturday.
Singh, who hails from Bihar, was serving as the vice president of the saffron outfit so far. He had received Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour, in 2010 for his contributions to the field of medical science.
'Our board of trustees today unanimously elected Padma Shri Ravindra Narain Singh as our president,' VHP's joint general secretary Surendra Jain said at a press conference.
Singh replaced Vishnu Sadashiv Kokje, who had been serving as the VHP president since his election to the top post in April 2018.
'Kokje ji is now 82 years old. He wanted to be relieved of his responsibilities as the VHP president. The election has been conducted as per his wishes and our constitution,' Jain said.
Singh is a renowned orthopaedic surgeon. He is known for his contributions in social, religious, medical and various other fields, Jain said.
'Election of such a person to the post of VHP president is a matter of pride for all of us,' Jain said.
The newly appointed president of the VHP was present during the press conference and shared the dais with Jain and other VHP leaders.
Elections were also held for the post of the general secretary and Milind Parande, the outfit's current general secretary, was unanimously re-elected, Jain said.
The polls for the president and general secretary of the VHP were held amid a two-day meeting of the outfit's governing council and board of trustees in Faridabad on Saturday morning.
During the meeting, the outfit discussed the 'condition of Hindus' in Haryana's Mewat and issued a statement demanding that the state government must ensure 'protection of Hindus' in the Muslim-dominated region.
Jain said Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, after visiting Mewat last year, had announced that his government would bring a law against forced religious conversion, effectively implement the law against cow slaughter, constitute a Dharmada Board to look after the religious estate of Hindu-minority areas and set up a camp of paramilitary forces in Mewat district.
'It has been a year since his announcement, but nothing has yet been done so far,' the VHP leader said while appealing to the Haryana chief minister to act on his promises 'to establish rule of law' in Mewat.
The VHP said the Hindu society has started standing up for 'self-defence' in Mewat with support from the neighbouring areas.
'As a result, several maha panchayats have been organised there to warn Jihadis. The VHP welcomes this awakening of Hindu society,” the saffron outfit said. PTI PK SNE